We all tend to forget that Earth is constantly being bathed in several types of radiation, some beneficial, some harmful. The earth’s ozone layer traditionally blocked most of the harmful radiation including ultraviolet but as you have seen on TV, the ozone layer is thinner than ever.
The radiation most harmful to eyes is called “ultraviolet” (UV). Exposure to UV rays over a person’s entire lifetime (lifetime dose) can cause a variety of problems, some sight-threatening. Here are the most common effects to protect yourself from:
Exposure keratitis causing red, irritated eyes that sometimes is severe enough our eyes grow an extra layer of protective tissue over itself. Much like a callus is trying to protect skin from abrasion, this extra layer of eye tissue, call a pterygium starts on the white of the eye and grows over the cornea toward the pupil. Not only are pterygia unsightly but can block vision as it grows into the pupil area. People who spend lots of time outdoors are most susceptible to pterygium formation.
Macular degeneration is a condition where the delicate photoreceptors found in the retina lining the rear of the eye become damaged. After diabetes, macular degeneration is the second leading cause of blindness in the USA. There are several risk factors for macular degeneration but there is growing evidence that your lifetime dose of UV radiation is one of the largest risks. Therefore it is very important that people of all ages, even young children, wear UVA and UVB absorbing sunglasses. If you have light colored eyes, you are even more at risk.
Cataracts are a slow clouding of a structure inside your eye called the lens. Cataracts are common as we age but some people get cataracts earlier than they would normally from aging due to their lifetime exposure to UV radiation.
If you want to have clear sight your whole life, wearing quality UV absorbing sun wear should start at an early age and continue throughout your life. When you buy sunglasses, ask about the quality of UV protection.
At Old Town Optix & Optometry, we have a broad selection of quality and fashionable prescription and non-prescription sun wear including Kaenon, Maui Jim, Oakley, Ray Ban, Tom Ford, Porsche and many, many others. Please come by to be expertly fit with the proper sun tint to protect your beautiful eyes. Old Town Optix & Optometry is open Monday-Saturday. 78015 Main Street 760-771-0715