Most people understand that UV radiation causes skin cancer but rarely do people take into consideration the damage that it can cause to your eyes.
Because of ozone depletion, the Earth has higher levels of UV rays and it’s more important than ever for you to take appropriate action to protect your eyes as well as your skin.
UV radiation can cause damage to your eyes in several different ways and has also been linked to diseases such as melanoma around or in your eyes and cataracts as well as numerous other issues.
There are many sources of UV radiation including snow and water glare, direct sun exposure, tanning beds and of course the sun. If you are squinting because the light is too bright, you are exposing yourself to potential damage, but you won’t even necessarily have to notice discomfort in order for damage to be occurring.
Types of Damage
There are several different forms of damage that unfiltered exposure to UV light can cause to your eyes. Long-term exposure is linked to cataracts. This is when the lens of your eye becomes cloudy and disrupts your vision. Snow blindness is another form of UV damage and is felt in the form of irritated, burning eyes. This can be caused, obviously, by snow glare but can also be caused by spending a day on the water or at the beach or even by spending a day in town shopping because the glare off of the sidewalk is enough to do damage.
Ptergium is a growth in that forms in the corner of your eye. Though it’s generally non-cancerous, it is still unattractive and irritating. It can also grow over your cornea and may have to be surgically removed. Finally, protecting your eyes from UV radiation is vital because it can cause skin cancer around, or even inside, your eyelid. Skin cancer around your eyelid is called basal cell carcinoma and usually results in lesions on your lower eyelids, but can occur anywhere around your eye including in the corners of your eyes, under your eyebrows, or on other parts of your face.
How to Protect Your Eyes
Now that you know what UV radiation can do to your eyes, it’s time to do something about it. Fortunately, protecting your eyes from UV radiation is extremely simple and will take little to no time out of your day, nor will you have to alter your life significantly. Simply buy yourself a pair of sunglasses or a wide-rimmed hat and wear it! If you want to be extremely protected, buy both. If you use a tanning bed, be sure to use the protective goggles that you are given because your eyes can burn even through your eyelids.
There are many things that you do to protect yourself every day. You wear sunscreen at the beach to avoid sunburn and cancer and you don’t go skiing without a jacket because you are protecting your body from the elements. Now that you know how to protect your eyes from UV radiation, consider doing so to be just as necessary as all of the other precautions that you take on a daily basis the reward will be healthy eyes for a lifetime!