What Does Sun Exposure Really Do to Your Eyes?

Sun exposure is much more damaging to your eye health than you might think, especially over a period of time. To help you understand just how important it is to wear sunglasses, Huffington Post details the ways in which UV rays can affect each area of your eye.

sunny day

Source: morgueFile

Parts of the Eye

  • Conjunctiva. Sun exposure can cause the clear membrane covering the white areas of your eye to thicken. In the case of pinguecula, your eye may become red and painful. Alternatively, with pterygium, your conjunctiva might grow over your cornea, impacting your vision.
  • Cornea. After spending many hours in the sun, it’s not unusual to experience a sunburned cornea. Beginning as a gritty sensation, this later turns into extreme pain, sometimes accompanied by temporary blindness.
  • Retina. The retina, or the lining at the back of your eye, is a light-sensitive tissue that includes the macula, which is responsible for enabling detailed vision. Deterioration in this region — or macular degeneration — can lead to blurred vision or a blind spot.
  • Iris. People with light-colored eyes are more likely to suffer from macular degeneration than people with dark-colored eyes.
  • Lens. Behind the iris is the lens, which allows light to focus on the retina. When cataracts form, the lens becomes cloudy and can obscure vision. Different types of cataracts can develop due to UV light exposure.
  • Skin around the eye. The skin around your eyes and on your eyelids is very thin and sensitive. Cumulative damage can cause wrinkles, age spots and even skin cancer.

Choosing Sunglasses

  • Sunglasses should block at least 99 percent of UVA and UVB rays. “UV 400” means that shades absorb all UV rays.
  • Polarized lenses reduce glare and may improve vision; however, they provide no added protection from the sun.
  • Lens color provides no indication of how well sunglasses block UV rays.
  • Good-quality shades will have optically-ground lenses with little distortion.
  • Big frames cover more of your face from the sun, while wraparound styles can block light entering from the sides.

Are you ready to protect your children’s eyes from damaging UV light? You can find sunglasses that meet all the above criteria in the Real Kids’ collection.