Extended exposure to UV light can lead to a deterioration in eye health, possibly causing cataracts and macular degeneration. To promote awareness of the dangers of UV light, July has been named UV safety month. Eye Care of Delaware is proud to join the American Academy of Ophthalmology who “reminds the public of the importance of shielding eyes from the sun’s harmful rays with 100% UV-blocking sunglasses and broad-brimmed hats.”
How Does UV Light Cause Damage to Vision?
Most people will be aware of the damage the sun can do to the skin. From sunburn to skin cancer, sun damage can lead to a range of short-term and long-term issues. However, fewer people are conscious of the damage to the eyes from UVA and UVB radiation. Here are some of the eye conditions caused by overexposure to UV light.
Cataracts are a clouding of the natural lens. Without treatment, cataracts are a major cause of blindness. The World Health Organization estimates that up to 20% of cataracts are a result of overexposure to UV rays, and could be prevented with the right care.
Macular degeneration results from damage to the retina and affects people as they age. UV light exposure is a common cause of the condition.
Photokeratitis is a painful but usually short-term issue caused by intense exposure to UV rays. Spending many hours at the beach or in snowy conditions leads to UVB light exposure that can cause inflammation of the cornea.
Is Your Vision at Risk From UV Rays?
Avoiding UV rays can reduce the risk of cataracts and other eye diseases. This avoidance includes natural light from long periods in the sun and also artificial UV light from tanning beds. Professions that include construction and agricultural work, for example, require spending long periods outdoors. In addition, medications including birth control and tranquilizers will increase sensitivity to light.
How Can You Protect Yourself From UV Light?
- Wear wraparound sunglasses
- Wear a sun hat
- Stay in the shade
- Be aware of light reflecting from the ground and water
- Take precautions with tanning beds
How Can You Treat Damage Caused By UV Light?
While you can reduce the need for surgery, conditions such as cataracts are common and may require treatment. Traditional and laser assisted cataract surgery are both effective options that can be carried out by a proficient surgeon. Other conditions like macular degeneration can be treated, but the damage cannot be reversed. In all cases, paying close attention when most at risk from UV exposure is the best approach to preventing eye damage.
Get Safe Treatment for Damaged Vision
If you require assistance with cataract surgery and other eye care treatment, contact Eye Care of Delaware today. We help patients in Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland and Pennsylvania to protect and improve their vision. Make an appointment by calling (302) 454-8800 or contacting us online.