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Damaging Effects Of Sun On The Eyes

August 27, 2020


Eyes are an important organ of the human body and are constantly exposed to the external environment. Solar sun exposure can cause significant damage to the eyes. If a person is exposed to UV radiation, it maycause short as well as long term eye problems. These include photokeratitis, abnormal ocular growth, cataract, and cancer.

What Are The Damaging Effects Of Sun On The Eyes?

Damage to the eyes due to solar radiation may result in various symptoms. Continuous exposure and overexposure of solar radiation may result in an abnormal growth in the eyes,cataracts, and even cancer. Among the three types of UV lights in the solar radiation i.e. UV-A,UV-B, and UV-C, UV-A is most damaging. Following are some of the harmful effects of solar radiation on eyes:

Photokeratitis: Photokeratitis is a condition that is characterized by corneal inflammation bydirectly viewing the sun or exposure to solar radiation. Another form of photokeratitis is snow blindness which is caused when the UV radiations are reflected from the snow, sand, or water and enter the eyes causing harmful effect on the retina.

Photo conjunctivitis: Exposure to UV radiation may also result in photo conjunctivitis Bothphotokeratitis and photo-conjunctivitis heal within 2-3 days and does not require medical intervention.

Cataract: Prolong exposure to solar radiation may lead to cataract formation. It is characterized by the cloudiness of lens, resulting in reduced vision. It is a progressive condition.

Eye Cancer: Overexposure of solar radiation may result in cancer in the eyes and the skin surrounding the eyes. Squamous cell cancer of conjunctiva may occur due to solar radiation. It is a slow-growing tumor that may result in vision loss.

Macular degeneration: UV-A may also damage the macula. The macula is a central part of the retina that provides sharp images.

Pingueculae: Pingueculae is a benign condition. It is characterized by a yellowing growth on the conjunctiva. UV light, along with pollution, dust, and the wind may cause pingueculae.

Pterygium: Pterygium is the growth of conjunctiva over the cornea. Pterygium is non-cancerous and may affect vision if it grows over the pupil. UV radiation is considered as a causative factor forpterygium.

Who Are At Increased Risk For Damaging Effects Of Sun On Eyes?

Following people are at increased risk of getting their eyes damaged due to solar radiations:

  • People who spend a lot of time in the sun.
  • People who are surfing.
  • People who frequently visit beaches.
  • People who do not wear sunglasses or/and hats when they are out during the daytime.

What Are The Preventive Measures For Damaging Effects Of Sun On Eyes?

Prevention is better than cure, and with eyes, it is essential. Following are some of the preventive measures to be followed to protect your eyes from solar damage:

Wearing sunglasses: Whenever you go out in the daytime, always wear sunglasses and a hat to protect the eyes. Also, note that you may also expose to UV radiation even on a cloudy day. Make sure that the sunglasses you wear are of good quality that prevents UV radiations from entering into the eyes.

Limit your exposure: Solar radiations are more powerful during the afternoon. Thus, avoid going out during this time unless it is essential. Avoid using tanning beds: You should also avoid using tanning beds as they increase your risk of exposure to solar radiation.

Do not look directly at the sun: Avoid looking directly at the sun as it may cause damage to your eyes.


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