Long-term exposure to the sun isn’t very good for any part of the body. In terms of eye health, bright sunlight that penetrates the eyes may increase the risk for cataracts, growths on the eyes, macular degeneration, and even cancer. There’s such thing as eye sunburn, as well, which normally occurs when sunlight bounces off of reflective surfaces such as sand or water. Wearing broad-brimmed hats and sporting 100% UV blocking sunglasses this summer are great ways to protect your eyes from the harmful effects of UV rays. This week, we’ll go over, in detail, the extent to which UV rays harm the eyes so you can find the right pair of sunglasses just in time for the sweltering August heat.
Sunlight Induced Eye Growths
Growths on the eyes, such as a pterygium, show up in teens and young adults who surf, ski, fish, farm, or participate in other extended outdoor activities. Taking many years to develop, pterygia, also known as ‘surfer’s eye,’ is a growth of pink, fleshy tissue on the whites of the eyes. Positioned at the corner of the eye closest to the nose, the growth is a non-cancerous lesion that gets larger over time. In advanced cases, pterygia can extend onto the cornea, causing vision interference. With irritating symptoms including burning, itching, blurred vision and the sensation of a foreign body in the eye, it’s best to seek treatment as soon as possible.
The Risk Of Forming Cataracts
Sunlight is actively absorbed by the lens of the eye. Unfortunately, this causes chemicals, such as free radicals to form inside of the eye. Over an extended period of time, these free radicals start to damage the lens in the form of cataracts. A cataract is a progressive, painless ‘clouding’ of the lens of the eye. Blocking light, your vision degrades over time as they worsen without removal. Cataracts are very common in older adults, but there are types that children and even babies can have. While cataracts may not develop until later in adulthood, it is the cumulative exposure to UV light starting even during childhood that can make them worse or develop sooner. Wearing protective sunglasses from a young age can help delay or lessen the severity of cataracts.
Protect Your Eye Health and Call Pediatric Eyecare of Maryland Today
Sunglasses with UV A and B protection are strongly recommended for children, both by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Adult Strabismus. If sunglasses prove too difficult, a hat with a wide brim and avoiding time outside during the peak brightness of the middle of the day are also good choices.
Pediatric Eye Care of Maryland takes you and your child’s eye health very seriously. With a full staff of highly skilled Ophthalmologists, Optometrists, Orthoptists, and Opticians we’ve got ocular health covered. If you feel any concern about your vision, have questions concerning eye health, or need information on the services we offer contact us today. With 4 convenient locations in Maryland, we are your number one choice for eye treatment.