Unfortunately, just like grey hair and wrinkles are bound to happen, we will eventually develop cataracts.
However, if you protect your eyes from the harmful rays emitted from the sun called ultraviolet radiation (UV) rays, you can help to protect your eyes from early onset of cataracts.
The two main types of UV are UVA (responsible for the tanning of skin and wrinkles) and UVB (responsible for sunburns, skin cancer and eye damage).
Can eye diseases be caused by or affected by sunlight?
The answer is YES. UV can play a large role in the development of various ocular disorders including cataract, pterygium, skin cancer around the eye, photokeratitis\keratitis, corneal degenerative changes, and macular degeneration.
Who is at risk?
What factors increase the risk?
Any factor that increases the eyes sunlight exposure will increase the risk for ocular damage from UV radiation. Individuals whose work or recreation involves lengthy exposure to sunlight are at greatest risk.
Since UV radiation is reflected off surfaces such as snow, water and white sand, the risk is particularly high on the beach, while boating, or at the ski slopes. The greatest exposure occurs during the mid-day hours, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and during summer months.
Since the human lens absorbs UV radiation, individuals who have had cataract surgery are at increased risk of retinal injury from sunlight unless a UV absorbing intraocular lens was inserted at the time of surgery.
How to protect your eyes from UV radiation?
Protection should start immediately after birth! Nearly 80% of sun exposure is obtained before the age of 18!
UV radiation reaches the eye not only from the sky but also from reflections from the ground. Protecting yourself from sun light can be done by using both a brimmed hat or cap and UV absorbing eyewear. UV sunglasses provide the greatest UV protection, particularly when they have a wraparound design.
UV filters do not interfere with vision. Polarized or photosensitive darkening tints are additional sunglass features that are useful for certain visual situations, but do not, by themselves, provide UV protection.
So what type of sunglasses should I buy?
Look for sunglasses that protect you from 99% to 100% of both UVA and UVB light. This includes those labeled as "UV 400," which refers to protection from 400 nanometers (all of UVA and UVB).
You may want to consider wraparound sunglasses to prevent harmful UV rays from entering around the frame and protect more of the skin around your eyes.
The degree of darkness has no effect on UV protection. Tint and color are your choice of how you want to see the world. Gray and brown are popular because they distort colors the least.
Other tints may be chosen for their color-enhancing properties; for example, yellow lenses are popular with people who suffer from macular degeneration or cataracts because they work well in low light, reduce haze and increase contrast for a sharper image. Polarized lenses are best to reduce glare from the water.
What age should sunglasses be worn?
Sunglasses and skin sunscreens should be used together. Whenever you slather on the sunscreen you should also put on your sunglasses.
Infants and young children are very suspectible to UV damage and therefor should always wear sunglasses. Sunglasses are now available for infants, toddlers, toddlers and adults. So be cool at any age and wear UV protection sunglasses and sunscreen to prevent skin cancer and eye diseases.
Stay Protected from UV and Help Prevent Early Onset of Cataracts.
By Deborah Kogler of Magnifiers & More
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