Protect your eyes from the sun

On this
bright and sunny morning it is important to protect your eyes from the dangers
of UV radiation.
The sun supports all life on our
planet, but its life-giving rays also pose dangers. The sun’s primary danger is
in the form of Ultraviolet (UV) radiation. UV radiation is a component of solar
radiation, but it can also be given off by artificial sources like welding
machines, tanning beds and lasers. Most are aware of the harm UV radiation can
do to the skin, but many may not realize that exposure to UV radiation can harm
the eyes or that other components of solar radiation can also affect vision.
There are three types of UV
radiation: UV-C is absorbed by the ozone layer and does not present any threat;
UV-A and UV-B radiation can have adverse long- and short-term effects on the
eyes and vision.
your eyes are exposed to excessive amounts of UV radiation over a short period
of time, you are likely to experience an effect called photokeratitis.
Like a “sunburn of the
eye”, photokeratitis may be painful and include symptoms such as red eyes, a
foreign body sensation or gritty feeling in the eyes, extreme sensitivity to
light and excessive tearing. Fortunately, this is usually temporary and rarely
causes permanent damage to the eyes.
Long-term exposure to UV
radiation, however, can be more serious. Scientific studies and research have
shown that exposure to small amounts of UV radiation over a period of many
years increases the chance of developing a cataract and may cause damage to the
retina, a nerve-rich lining of the eye that is used for seeing. Additionally,
chronic exposure to shorter wavelength visible light (i.e. blue and violet
light) may also be harmful to the retina.
The longer the eyes are
exposed to solar radiation, the greater the risk of developing later in life
such conditions as cataracts or macular degeneration. Since it is not clear how
much exposure to solar radiation will cause damage, the AOA recommends wearing quality
sunglasses that offer UV protection and wearing a hat or cap with a wide brim
whenever you spend time outdoors. Also, certain contact lenses can provide
additional protection.
To provide adequate
protection for your eyes, sunglasses should:
  • block out 99 to 100 percent of
    both UV-A and UV-B radiation;
  • screen out 75 to 90 percent of
    visible light;
  • be perfectly matched in color
    and free of distortion and imperfection; and
  • have lenses that are gray for
    proper color recognition.
The lenses in sunglasses
should be made from polycarbonate or Trivex® material if you participate in
potentially eye-hazardous work or sports. These lenses provide the most impact
If you spend a lot of
time outdoors in bright sunlight, wrap around frames can provide additional
protection from the harmful solar radiation.
Don’t forget protection
for children and teenagers. They typically spend more time in the sun than
Be sure to see your
doctor of optometry at least every two years, this is the recommended schedule of
, for a comprehensive eye
examination. It is a good way to monitor your eye health, maintain good vision
and keep track of your solar radiation protection needs as well as new advances
in eye protection. (
an appointment for the eyegotcha spring frame event for more information call (412) 331-9696


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