As with most medical matters, the two most important questions are generally 1) what causes it and 2) how to treat it. Afflictions of the eye are no different. Because eyes are very sensitive compared to other organs, and because they serve such a vital purpose to your functionality, special care should be taken to ensure your eyes are safe and healthy.
You might not have known that the sun – the exact thing we need to be able to see at all when outdoors – can actually damage your eyes over time. What exactly does this mean, and how can you prevent it? Keep reading to learn more.
How Does the Sun Affect Your Eyes?
Light is the fuel that makes your eyes function. When we are outside, sunlight fills that role. As the light enters your eye, it is refracted towards your retina, which allows your brain to interpret what you are seeing.
However, despite its necessity, sunlight can actually damage your eyes if you are overexposed or underprotected. The UVA and UVB rays emitted by the sun are immensely powerful, and especially under prolonged exposure, these rays have been linked to various degenerative eye conditions such as:
- Cataracts – the crystallization of the lens of the eye over time
- Keratitis – the burning of the cornea, part of the refractive system of your eye
- Macular degeneration – the gradual fatigue of the macula, the point to which light is refracted
- Skin Cancer – development of cancer in the eyelid and surrounding skin
Your eye is an excellent filter of harmful rays in the majority of cases, but when repeated, unprotected exposure occurs, these ailments can appear.
Is Eye Damage Treatable?
Some of the afflictions that involve your eyes can be treated or heal on their own. Common deficiencies such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism can generally be treated with corrective lenses prescribed by your eye doctor.
Even minor trauma to the eye is treatable – minor cuts and damage to your eye that occurs as a result of physical contact will generally heal if treated promptly and properly.
However, damage to your eyes that results from sun exposure is, unfortunately, not easily treatable. The retina, cornea, and macula generally remain permanently damaged when overexposed to UV light. On the bright side, this kind of damage is easy to avoid, and the risk can be largely eliminated with simple preventive measures.
How to Protect Against Sun Damage
The best thing you can do for your eyes is wear eye protection. This can take several forms, depending on the situation:
- When outside, wear UV-blocking sunglasses. Make sure they cover your eyes completely, along with the surrounding areas.
- When working for long hours on a laptop, wear blue light filtering glasses. These will help reduce eye fatigue and prevent damage to your eyes from constant light exposure.
- If working in a dangerous or labor-intensive role, safety glasses or goggles are absolutely necessary to protect against blunt trauma to your eyes.
Other protective measures include wearing a hat to block sun from your face and never looking directly towards the sun – especially during solar events such as an eclipse.
Finally, regular check-ups with your eye doctor are an easy and recommended way to ensure your eyes are healthy and working properly. Your eye care specialist will be able to identify any signs of abnormalities and instruct treatment if necessary.
Schedule a Visit with Complete Eye Care of Medina
To ensure the healthy future of your eyesight, visit Complete Eye Care of Medina. We take a one-on-one approach to your eye health. During a visit to our clinic, a professional eye doctor will evaluate the health of your eyes and your current vision through a comprehensive eye exam. For our patients, we offer comfortable, easy testing that allows us to evaluate your risk for eye conditions such as macular degeneration and other afflictions. Contact us today and schedule your visit: completeeyecareofmedina.com.