Good Afternoon All,
Today we have the 2nd part of our summer health issue on the effects of the sun, which describes the damage that occurs to the eyes after overexposure to the sun. This information and more can be found on the Livestrong web site which is www.livestrong.com.
How the Sun Damages Our Eyes
Most people know that the sun may cause skin cancer or dark liver spots that appear on the skin with age and lather on sunscreen while working in the yard or playing on the beach. This benefits your skin and overall health, but learning to protect your eyes from the sun will help keep them healthy as well.
People who have frequent or excessive exposure to direct sunlight have a greater risk of developing growths on the surface of the eye, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. A pinguecula forms on the white of the eye, and these growths have a thick, fibrous appearance. Both types of growths may cause irritation, especially if they grow onto the cornea, the front of the eye. If a pinguecula or pteryguim grows to an extent that it causes pain or changes in vision, an eye surgeon may have to remove the growth.
The natural lens of the eye plays an important role in good vision. As a part of natural aging the lens may turn yellow and harden, a condition known as cataracts. The aging process of the eye speeds up with frequent sun exposure. Doctors can remove cataracts easily with surgery, though slowing down the aging process may reduce the need for cataract surgery.
The retina lines the back of the eye, and is made of light sensitive nerves that relay visual images to the brain. The macula is a spot on the retina with the responsibility for clear central vision. If the macula has damage the central vision turns blurry, a condition called macular degeneration. People who have frequent sun exposure may develop macular degeneration, and according to the Wisconsin Dept of Health Services, exposure to sunlight may accelerate the condition.
Anyone who works or spends a number of hours outside each day should wear sunglasses, preferably with ultraviolet protection in the lenses, recommends the U.S. EPA. Hats that shade the face and eyes will also help prevent sun damage to the eyes. Children can contract damage from the sun, so they should wear hats and gloves as well. This prevents immediate damage, but will also encourage them to protect their eyes as they get older.
Staring directly into the sun can damage the cornea or the retina, possibly causing permanent vision loss. Reflections from the water, snow or other surfaces can also increase the risks of sun damage to the eye. Wear sun glasses and eye protecting hats, even on cloudy days since ultraviolet rays cause damage even when the sun is not out.
SAFETY: The More You Know The Less It Hurts
Until next time,