There’s nothing people love more than being outside on a bright summer day! When you get the chance to soak up the sun, you have probably learnt to never forget sunscreen to protect your skin – but what about your eyes?
The sun’s UV rays are very harmful to your eyes and the sensitive skin around them. The effects of UV damage on your eyes grows as you spend more time in the sun throughout your life. While everyone should wear sunglasses to protect their eyes, children are at the highest risk of retinal damage because their eyes are the clearest they will ever be. Here are some of the effects of UV rays on our eyes:
- UVA rays will pass through the cornea and reach the lens and retina inside the eye. Overexposure to this type of UV ray can lead to macular degeneration (retinal damage with loss of central vision) and cataracts (clouding of the lens that decreases vision and color perception).
- UVB rays are more intense than UVA rays, but do not pass through as many layers of the eye as UVA rays. UVB rays are absorbed predominately by the cornea and can lead to “snow blindness” (corneal inflammation and temporary vision loss).
The best way to protect your eyes from both UVA and UVB rays is by looking for a pair of sunglasses specifically designed to block 99.9% of UV rays. Polarized lenses will also reduce harmful glare, but be on the look out for false labels! The sunglasses that will protect your eyes best should be UV400 or higher and the frame itself should provide proper curvature and coverage.
Check with our optometrists in Victoria to be sure that your sunglasses are doing their job – and get out there and enjoy the sun!