Stop UV Rays From Damaging Your Eyes - Smart Vision Labs

You know the commonly-stated advice for keeping your vision at its best: get regular exams, see a doctor if something looks wrong, actually wear your prescription glasses, and clean your contact lenses well. All those are good to practice, but there are things you can’t see that can harm your vision. The good news is that you can plan for them.

UV Rays

One of these invisible dangers are UV rays. You usually hear them mentioned in ads for skin care products to stop sun damage or articles on preventing skin cancer. But your eyes are also very sensitive to these rays and need to be protected just as much as your skin does.

UV rays are most commonly associated with the sun and for good reason. Most UV exposure comes from sunlight. Between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm is when the sun is highest in the sky and the rays are the strongest. But it isn’t just direct sunlight either. The bright light when outside in fresh snow reflects up to 80 percent of UV rays. Tanning beds and certain types of laser lights are examples of man-made sources.

There are actually three types of UV rays: UVA, UVB, and UVC. It is the first two that can cause vision damage. UVC is actually the most dangerous, however, the earth’s ozone layer blocks it before it can reach us so you don’t need to worry about that one. UVA is the one connected with skin damage mentioned in those cosmetic commercials and UVB exposure can cause health issues ranging from sunburn to skin cancer.

Effects of UV Rays

If UV rays can cause that kind of harm to your skin, think how dangerous they might be to your sensitive eyes. One condition caused by UV ray exposure is photokeratitis. This is a painful, though temporary, condition that often gets described as “sunburn for your eyes.” It affects the cornea, the clear lens over your eye, and the conjunctiva, the thin layer of cells which cover part of the whites of your eye and some of the inside of your eyelid. Photokeratitis makes your eyes red and teary, and you may feel like there is something stuck in your eye. Thankfully, like a regular sunburn on your skin, it does go away and rarely causes any sort of long-term vision problems.

In case you didn’t cringe at the idea of sunburn on your eyes, UV rays can also cause more serious, long-lasting effects on your vision. Increased amounts of time being exposed to UV rays has been linked to a higher likelihood of developing cataracts and macular degeneration later in life. Both of these conditions cause permanent vision impairment or loss. It is unclear exactly how much exposure is required for this to happen so reducing your chance of coming into contact with UV rays whenever possible is the safest course of action.

Look Cool and Keep Safe

Stopping those UV rays from damaging your eyes is as easy as slipping on a pair of sunglasses. But not just any pair. They should be rated to stop at least 99 percent of both UVA and UVB rays. For the best protection, they should also be a wrap-around style; UV rays can sneak right behind those cool aviator sunglasses to reach your eyes. Additionally, there are contact lenses which protect against UV rays. If you really need to wear those designer sunglasses, consider a pair of these contacts as well. They will catch the rays which slip around your stylish lenses, giving you both the look you want and the safety your eyes need.

You may not need to completely shun the sun as long as you protect your eyes from unseen dangers.

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