Protecting Your Eyes From UV Light

Did you know that over-exposure to sunlight can damage your eyes as well as your skin?
The danger lies in the sun’s ultra-violet (UV) rays. While some effects on the eyes are temporary, others can be permanent and irreversible. For example, exposure to high doses of UV light over short periods can cause a very painful condition called photokeratitis. This is an inflammation of the cornea at the front of your eye – essentially, a form of ocular sunburn. Fortunately, the effects of photokeratitis are short-term – usually clearing up within 24 – 48 hours.

Long-term damage
The long-term effects of UV light, however, are more insidious and easier to ignore. That’s because they’re painless and develop gradually over a lifetime’s exposure to the sun. On the outer eyes, possible complications include discoloured swellings on the whites of your eyes, known as pinguecula and pterygium. Inside your eyes, UV damage can lead to more serious conditions, like cataracts and macular degeneration.

Sunglass protection
The good news is that by wearing sunglasses you can easily protect your eyes against the harmful effects of UV light. However, not all sunglasses are the same, so remember to always look out for optical quality lenses that offer 100% UV protection. If you wear spectacles, you needn’t miss out on UV protection, as sunglasses can be made up to prescription. These are available in a wide range of lens types, including varifocals, bifocals and thinner, lighter high-index materials.

Transitions and polarized lenses
Other options that offer full UV protection include transitions and polarized lenses.

Fast-reacting transitions lenses have the advantage of becoming darker or lighter according to the amount of available sunlight. This allows you to enjoy comfortable vision both indoors and outside. Polarized lenses offer extra clarity and protection by minimising glare reflected off horizontal surfaces, like roads and water. This makes them particularly useful for driving, as well as outdoor activities like cycling, fishing and sailing.

To discuss your individual sunglass needs, see your optometrist for specialist advice on the different frame and lens options available.

It is important to have regular eye examinations so contact your Optometrist to arrange an appointment.

If you have any questions that you would like to ask please contact him or his colleagues at the practice in Lewes at Wilson,Wilson and Hancock 01273 472360.

Independent Optometrists and Contact lens practitioners since 1949.

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