UV Radiation and Eye Health Dangers

UV Radiation and Eye Health Dangers

Keep an eye on Ultraviolet (UV) safety. Most people understand the link between UV radiation and skin cancer, however few connect UV with eye damage.  Let’s look at some facts;

We have increased levels of radiation reaching the earth’s surface, mainly due to stratospheric ozone layer depletion, making it a necessary precaution to protect not only your skin but your eyes as well. Interesting that 40% of all UV exposure occurs when you not in the sun.  Over exposure to the sun’s  UV radiation can cause a variety of eye problems such as;

Cataracts – a clouding of the eye’s lens that can blur vision.

Snow blindness – a  temporary but painful burn to the cornea caused by a day at the  beach without sunglasses; reflections off of snow, water or concrete, or exposure to artificial light sources such as tanning beds.

Sunburn of the eyes (photokeratitis) – just a few hours in bright sunlight with no eye protection can do this, though most UV-related eye problems occur very gradually after many years of repeated UV exposure.

Growths on the eye, such as pterygium– can show up in our teens or twenties, especially in surfers, skiers, fishermen, farmers, or anyone who spends long hours under the mid-day sun or in the UV-intense conditions found near rivers, oceans, and mountains.

While it’s important that we protect our eyes from overexposure to UV light, our eyes also need minimal exposure to natural light every day to help maintain normal sleep-wake cycles.

Some research suggests that light-sensitive cells in the eye are important to our ability to regulate wake-sleep cycles. This may be more critical as we age, when more people have problems with insomnia.