Although there’s plenty of awareness surrounding the effects of ultraviolet radiation on your skin, there’s not as much awareness about its effects on the eyes. Without protection, the sun can end up harming our eyes just as much. Regardless of the time of year, short-term exposure to very strong sunshine can cause sunburn to our eyes.
We can see with our eyes because of the light that enters them, but sometimes, the sun can prove dangerous for eyesight. If our eyes are exposed to too much light and we don’t use precautions like UV-protected sunglasses, we are at risk of short-term or long-term damage.
Effects of the Sun on the Eyes
We will discuss how the sun can be dangerous to the eyes and the specific effects it can have.
Photokeratitis occurs when harmful UV rays burn the cornea of the eye, it can happen when you spend too much time in the sun and when the sunlight reflects on snow, ice, sand, or water straight into your eyes.
Snow does not absorb any light and reflects all the sunlight, including ultraviolet radiation, which could double your exposure to your eyes. You should wear protective goggles if you ever participate in winter sports to prevent harming your eyesight.
- Eye Injury
Sunlight can cause eye sunburn, just like it does to the skin, which has a negative impact on your vision. Going out in the sun without eye protection can result in redness in the eyes, tears, stinging, and itching; you should go back inside if any of this occurs.
Pterygium is a condition where you overexpose your eyes to the sun and let the harmful radiation cause inflammation in the conjunctiva, the layer that covers the white part of your eye and extends to the cornea.
In this condition, you will experience teary eyes, dryness, itchiness, or a gritty sensation. If it persists, it may obstruct your vision, which will require surgery for effective treatment.
- Eye Diseases
Overexposure to the sun can cause several eye conditions, such as cataracts. The hardening or thickening of the lens, which may occur due to aging, leads to cataracts. Continued exposure to the sun will increase the risk of it occurring again and more often.
Macular degeneration is another eye disease, which is also linked to aging but can occur earlier in life due to overexposure of the eyes to sunlight. These diseases can lead to complete blindness without timely intervention.
Sun is equally harmful to the eyes as it is to the skin; overexposure to sunlight for a long period can cause long-term eye diseases. The ultraviolet radiation from sunlight can obsolete your vision and create several eye injuries, such as Pterygium, where inflamed growth of tissues obstructs your vision.
Photokeratitis causes snow blindness as snow reflects all the light, including UV rays, and can cause serious eye problems for people participating in winter sports. You should wear protective goggles and glasses before going out to prevent diseases caused by sunlight.