If you love being outside in the sun and hanging out at the beach, you should be aware of the risks exposure of ultraviolet (UV) rays have on your eyes. Most people do not think about this when they young, but it is something you should be concerned with no matter what age you are. UV rays from the sun are best known for causing skin cancer; however, these rays can also lead to a variety of eye problems. Here are several things you should understand about UV rays and the effects they have on your eyes.
What are UV rays?
The sun provides heat and light from the rays it emits. These rays are made up of a variety of different types, and one type is called UV rays. There are two main types of UV rays and both are bad for your eyes. These types are called UV-A and UV-B. UV-A rays are a leading cause of damage to the back parts of your eyes, while UV-B rays can lead to damage to the front parts of your eyes.
How do UV rays cause damage to your eyes?
It's important to realize that exposing your eyes to UV rays does not cause immediate damage; it takes time for the damage to occur. The damage caused by UV rays typically begins with the outer parts of your eyes, which are the lens and cornea. These two parts protect your eyes and are made to filter rays like UV rays, but they wear out over time, and exposure to UV rays causes these parts to wear out faster.
As this occurs, the damage will begin affecting the inner parts of your eyes. Once the damage is done, it cannot be reversed; however, eye doctors can perform surgical procedures to help you with most eye problems.
What problems can exposure to UV rays cause?
When you expose your eyes to UV rays over a long period of time, you will have a greater chance of developing one or more of the following problems with your eyes:
- Cataracts – Cataracts occur from cloudiness that forms on the lenses in the eyes.
- Macular degeneration – This is a disease that can lead to blindness over time.
- Pterygium – This is a condition that causes growths on the white parts of your eyes.
- Photokeratitis – This condition occurs when the eyes become sunburned.
If you want to avoid damaging your eyes from exposure to UV rays, always wear sunglasses that are designed to block these rays. To learn more about eye health, schedule an appointment with an optometrist.