It is summertime; the sun is shining and everyone enjoys spending time outdoors.
Most people 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 and can also affect vision.
It’s important to protect your eyes from the damage caused by even a single outing on a very bright day. Intense, excessive exposure to ultraviolet light reflected off sand, snow or pavement can damage the eye’s surface. “sunburn of the eye”, photokeratitis may be painful and include symptoms such as red eyes, a 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. To ensure your eyes are protected, wear sunglasses and a broad-rimmed hat. When selecting sunglasses, make sure they block 99 to 100 percent of UV-A and UV-B rays. But don’t be deceived by color or cost. The ability to block UV light is not dependent on the darkness of the lens or the price tag. Also, while out enjoying the sun in the water, remember to wear swimming goggles whenever you swim. Chlorine can make your eyes red and puffy; and ponds, oceans and lakes may have bacteria that can get underneath contact lenses and cause inflammation of the cornea. The longer the eyes are exposed to solar radiation, the greater the risk of developing later in life conditions, such as cataracts or macular degeneration. Don’t forget protection for children and teenagers. They typically spend more time in the sun than adults. Remember to protect your eyes when you step out into the sun. If you experience any vision problems, see an optometrist.
American Optometric Association