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When we grab our sunglasses as we walk out the door, there are several reasons why. Usually, we bring our sunglasses along in order to shade our eyes from the intense glare and brightness of the sun. We of course also consider the fashion-related motivation as well, as sunglasses can add a lot to your outfit and enforce your sense of style. Your Arlington eye doctor will tell you that you may not realize the important role that your sunglasses are playing in protecting your eyes and keeping your vision healthy.
The sun gives off two types of rays, UV-A and UV-B. Both of these rays over time can cause problems and damage to your UV vision. UV-A can damage your macula, which is the part of the retina that is located at the back of your eye. UV-B can hurt the front part of your eye, the cornea and the lens, as these parts of the eye absorb the most of these rays. More specifically, when left unprotected from the sun’s harmful rays your eyes can endure:
Macular degeneration cannot be fully cured, but only dealt with. It is an eye disease that is caused by deterioration of the central part of the retina. The retina is responsible for obtaining images and sending them to the brain through the optic nerve channel. Over time, macular degeneration will lead to vision loss and is known as one of the top causes of blindness in Americans.
Cataracts occur when the lens of the eye becomes clouded, making it difficult to see. UV rays can contribute to the onset and development of cataracts. Cataracts eventually must be removed and treated by surgery on the eye.
Corneal Sunburn (Photokeratitis)
Overexposure of your eyes to UV rays can lead to corneal sunburn, or Photokeratitis. This can happen from a long day in the sun without proper optic protection and is extremely painful and can even lead to temporary vision loss.
The skin around your eyes is extremely sensitive. Over time, extended exposure of this skin around the eyes to UV rays can lead to skin cancer.
Pterygium is a growth that occurs in the sclera, known as the white part of the eye. While it begins in the sclera, it can spread to the cornea and can eventually lead to disrupting one’s vision. This condition is more common amongst people who spend long hours out in the sun.
What you can do
Wearing sunglasses with proper UV protection is the best way that you can protect your eyes from sun-related damage. While you should always protect your eyes with appropriate protective wear, another important part of eye care is regularly visiting your Arlington optometrist. Visiting your eye doctor annually or bi-annually will not only ensure that your vision is clear and concise but it will give your doctor the chance to catch any potential eye conditions early and prevent further permanent damage.
First Eye Care North Arlington is a highly recommended and trusted all-around vision center. If you have questions about your eye health or would like to schedule an appointment, call us or come by today.