In our last post, we discussed the different glasses lens materials available. Today, we will discuss what is ultraviolet light or radiation and how it can affect our eyes.
The sun supplies energy that supports our life on Earth, but also can be dangerous to us. This energy is called ultraviolet light or radiation. In terms of wavelengths, UV radiation lies to the left of the visible spectrum that we know as the colors of the rainbow (ROY G BIV). This UV light is harmful to our skin, but also harmful to our eyes and can affect our vision.
There are three types of UV radiation: UV-A, UV-B, and UV-C. UV-C is mostly observed by the atmosphere while UV-A and UV-B both pose as threats to be damaging to different parts of our eyes:
Cornea: The front part of our eyes can absorb this UV and cause a sunburned condition called photokeratitis just like as we can be sunburned on our skin.
Conjuctiva: Dry eyes can be caused by tissue growths on the white part of the eye called pingueculae and pterygia.
Iris: The colored part of the eye can be damaged from too much exposure and can lead to a cancer called iris melanoma.
Lens: The lens inside the eye can also be damaged by UV radiation and can contribute to a hazy condition called cataracts.
Retina: UV damage to the back of the eye can result in macular degeneration.
This is not to say to be indoors at all costs and to avoid the sun as much as you can, but to have proper protection as we continue our active lifestyle is highly important if you value your eyesight! Luckily sunglasses and some regular non-tinted lenses can provide this protection. Polycarbonate material and trivex material have a 100% ultraviolet light protection.
When looking for a perfect pair of sunglasses, make sure your sunglasses are “UV-blocking” sunglasses or have a label reading “UV 400” or “100% UV”. Certain different colored tints along with a UV coating protection could enhance your daily activities. For instance, green tints can be helpful in tennis or golf. Choosing which type of protection depends on your lifestyle, whether having a pair of tinted sunglasses, or a pair of transition lenses, or even polarized lenses.
Anyone who spends a lot of time outdoors is at risk for problems but exposure to ultraviolet light depend on a number of factors such as the time of day, the time of year, the location and altitude you are at, and the weather condition whether it is a clear day or cloudy day. Be sure to stay protected, especially during these hot summer days.
In our next post, we’ll talk about myopia (nearsightedness) progression and control in children.
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The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions