Sunscreen no doubt protects your skin from the damaging rays of the sun, but did you know that your eyes can also suffer from sun damage? Long-term exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause a variety of eye problems, ranging from "sunburn" of the cornea to cancer. Ophthalmologists in Fairfax, Virginia provide tips on how to prevent this damage:
WHAT TYPES OF LIGHT CAUSE DAMAGE?
Ultraviolet light is a type of electromagnetic radiation. Unlike visible light, it can't be seen because it has a shorter wavelength. Types of UV light include:
UVC Rays – UVC rays are very damaging to the eyes and skin. Fortunately, the ozone layer prevents most of them from reaching the earth.
UVB Rays – The ozone layer blocks some UVB rays, but a significant amount still breaks through, resulting in sunburns and suntans and thus leading to the formation of cataracts.
UVA Rays – These rays particularly cause damage to your eyes though they are not quite as strong as UVB or UVC rays. These rays can damage the macula, the part of your retina responsible for central vision.
Visible Blue Lights – The bulk of your exposure to blue light comes from the sun, but it's also found in digital screens, including computer monitors, smartphones, flat screen televisions, and LED and fluorescent lights. Exposure to blue light can increase your risk of developing macular degeneration.
WHAT DISEASES CAN BE CAUSED BY EXPOSURE TO UV LIGHT?
PHOTOKERATITIS – Photokeratitis is responsible for eye “sunburn.” If you are exposed to a significant amount of UV light, be it for few hours only and do not protect your eyes, you may experience red eyes, tearing, sensitivity to light and a feeling that something is stuck in your eyes. Photokeratitis usually goes away on its own.
CATARACTS – Prolonged sun exposure can result from your risk of cataracts. When you have a cataract, the clear lens in the center of your eye becomes cloudy, impairing your vision.
MACULAR DEGENERATION – Exposure to the sun plays the vital role in the development of macular degeneration. It is a condition that occurs when the cells in the center of your retina begin to deteriorate, affecting your ability to read, drive and recognize people.
CANCER – Melanoma and basal cell and squamous cell cancers can develop on your eyelids and most often occur on the lower eyelids. Possible symptoms of eyelid cancer include eyelash loss, bleeding bumps, new spots on the eyelids that grow or have irregular borders, and chronic inflammation of the eyelids that doesn't get better when you use medication.
CONJUNCTIVAL GROWTH – Sun exposure can also cause benign growths to form on the conjunctiva, the white part of your eye. The problem is more likely to occur if you live in an area that is very sunny year-round.
WAYS TO PROTECT YOUR EYES FROM THE SUN
Try to schedule outdoor activities either in the early hours of the day or late afternoon/early evening hours. This is because it is the time when the sun's rays are not quite as intense.
Every time you step outdoor, wear your sunglasses. Look for glasses that block 100 percent of UV rays. Wraparound sunglasses provide the best protection.
Block blue light by buying sunglasses with copper or bronze-colored lenses. But at the same time make sure that these glasses protect you from UV Rays.
Wear sunglasses even if your contacts block UV light. Although the protection is very helpful, your lenses don't protect your entire eye.
Never take your sunglasses off in shady locations. Your UV exposure decreases in the shade, but you still receive some exposure from reflected light from sand, road surfaces or buildings.
During your early eye tests, the best ophthalmologist in Fairfax, Virginia not only tests your vision but also looks for possible signs of sun damage, and thereafter, suggests you the best remedy to cure it. If it's time for your next examination, or if you have any concerns about your eye health, visit Healthcare 800 – a one stop search engine to look for the best eye specialists in your nearby location and fix appointment thereof.