The beneficial effects of UV radiation include the production of a vital nutrient, vitamin D; however, overexposure may present risks. Sunburn, premature aging, and skin cancer are all risks to overexposure. Keeping you and others protected from UV radiation is an important, year-round responsibility.
The sun releases energy (radiation) in many forms:
• Sunlight is the form we see
• The heat we feel is another form
• Ultraviolet light (UV) rays are a third type that cause sunburn.
-UV-A can damage the macula
-UV-B The cornea and the lens absorb the most UV-B rays over time the effects of UV may cause a number of eye problems including:
- Macular Degeneration-Causes loss in the center of the field of vision.
- Cataracts-Clouding of the normally clear lens of the eye resulting in blurred vision.
- Pterygium-Is a pinkish, triangular, non-cancerous growth that starts on the clear tissue of the eye and spreads to the cornea
- Skin cancer-The abnormal growth of skin cells most often develops on skin exposed to sunlight. Research has shown that getting severe sunburn just once every two years can triple the risk of melanoma skin cancer.
- Corneal sunburn-call photo keratitis is the result of high short term exposure to UV-B rays. It can be very painful and may cost temporary vision loss.
Protect yourself from UV rays by:
1. Wearing sunglasses with 100% UV protection.
2. Contacts can help to some types have UV protection.
3. Be aware of cloudy days UV rays can still travel through cloud cover.
4. Don’t forget the sunscreen
5. Wear a wide brimmed hat
Are you at risk?
Some factors may increase risk of eye or skin cancer
• Family history
• Having light colored eyes, hair and skin
• Being outdoors for long periods of time
• Spending time around the water or other reflective surfaces without eye protection
• Recent cataract surgery
• Are over the age of 50