UV light radiation can cause both short-term and long-term damage to your eyes. Unfortunately, not enough people pay attention to the importance of protecting their eyes, especially during the summer. People expose themselves during California summers because they spend more time outside.
To spread more awareness about the need to protect your eyes, July has been designated as UV Safety Awareness Month.
Damage Caused by UV Light Radiation
Exposure can result in a number of short-term symptoms affecting your vision. These symptoms include eye irritation, red eyes, and photokeratitis (which is known as corneal sunburn and can cause temporary vision loss). These symptoms can occur within 15 minutes after exposure. However, it’s the long-term vision problems caused by UV light radiation that is of real concern.
These problems include:
- Cancer – While you can’t get eye cancer, you can get skin cancer of the eyelids.
- Cataracts – Cataracts occur when the eye’s natural lens is clouded over. Roughly 10% of all cataracts are said to be caused by exposure.
- Macular degeneration – Macular degeneration is the leading cause of age-related blindness. UV light exposure increases the risk of macular degeneration, which results from retinal damage over time.
- Pterygium – Pterygium is a pink growth that forms over the white of the eye. It’s been referred to as “surfer’s eye.”
Safety Tips to Protect Against UV Light Radiation
The following can help protect against the damages of UV light radiation:
- Keep in mind that clouds do not block it.
- Never look directly at the sun.
- Wear a hat to help shade against exposure, especially if you’re in direct sunlight, on the beach or outside.
- Wear sunglasses if you plan on going outside for an extended period of time.