Posted by: Eye Centers of Florida in Eye Health

Are You Increasing Your Risk of UV Damage to Your Eyes?

UV Light Safety Awareness

Did you know that your eyes may be at risk of permanent damage from the sun? Most people are aware of the dangers of sunburn, but ultraviolet light from the sun can also harm your eyes and affect your vision if you’re not careful.

To recognize UV Safety Awareness Month — and help you protect your eyes for the long term — we’re here to help you assess the level of risk UV light poses to your eyes.

Six Signs of Cataract

Why is UV Light Dangerous, Anyway?

The sun gives off ultraviolet rays, high energy light that is invisible to the human eye. UV rays are separated into three different categories: UVA, UVB, and UVC rays. These rays come in various strengths, and while they often aren’t dangerous in lower quantities, overexposure to UV light can be hazardous.

UV rays can cause skin cancer and sunburn — that’s something most people know. A less publicized fact is that they can also do harm to your eyes and your vision. Overexposure to UV rays can lead to:

5 Questions to Ask Yourself to Determine Your Risk

While it’s practically impossible to avoid exposure to UV rays altogether, being reckless about time spent in the sun may be increasing your risk of developing UV-related eye problems. If you answer yes to any of the following questions, you may be increasing your risk of UV eye damage.

1. Do You Spend A Lot of Time On or Near Water?

Many of us in sunny Southwest Florida spend quite a bit of time outside all year ‘round, on a beach or a boat. Unfortunately, this can put you at greater risk for developing eye problems due to UV exposure. Both sand and water can reflect UV rays, increasing their intensity and putting your eyes at risk for damage from UV radiation.
Cloudy and Opaque Lens

2. Do You Tan?

If you like to tan, you’re not alone — millions of people love to lay out in the sun. However, it’s important that you understand that tanning may increase the risk of damaging your eyes. Tanning occurs when UVB rays stimulate melanin production, darkening the skin. UVB rays have also been linked with various eye problems, like surfer’s eye and snow blindness.

These consequences can also be caused by tanning beds and UV lamps. Tanning beds give off UVA and UVB radiation, which is capable of causing permanent skin and eye damage.

3. Does Your Family Have a History of AMD?

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is one of the leading causes of blindness. It occurs when the retina, which is responsible for central vision, deteriorates. AMD is a serious disease that can permanently affect your vision if not treated early on, and anyone with a family history of AMD is at a greater risk of developing the disease.

In addition, the more the eyes are exposed to UV radiation, the greater the risk of developing AMD. If any of your family members have AMD or if you’ve shown any other risk factors, it’s especially important that you stay vigilant about protecting your eyes from the sun.

Prescription Glasses for Blurry Vision

4. Do You Take Certain Medications?

Many medications are photosensitizers, meaning they increase your sensitivity to sunlight. Some of these medications include:

  • Antibiotics
  • Anti-hypertensives
  • Diuretics
  • Oral contraceptives
  • Tranquilizers

5. Do You Often Forget to Wear Sunglasses?

Wearing sunglasses is one of the best ways to protect your eyes against harmful UV rays — and they help you look great while doing so. Whether the day is sunny or overcast, your eyes are still at risk. This means that it’s important to wear sunglasses whenever you’re outside, no matter if you’re driving, going on a walk, or just lounging on the beach.
Cloudy and Opaque Lens

Protect Your Eyes from UV Damage with Eye Centers of Florida

It’s important to protect your eye health so that you can experience clear vision throughout your entire life. Whether or not you’re at a greater risk of developing radiation from UV rays, it’s essential that you take precautions to protect your eyes!

At Eye Centers of Florida, our experienced opticians can help you select sunglasses that will provide a safe range of UV protection and suit your lifestyle. Our optical shops carry a wide variety of sunglass brands and styles, available with prescription and non-prescription lenses, as well as Transition™ lenses.

If you have a genetic predisposition for AMD or are concerned about your risk for UV damage, our expert eye doctors are here to give you guidance so that you know what steps to take to live life with clear vision.