Most people know the sun’s rays are bad for our skin. But did you know they’re just as bad for our eyes?
Sunglasses are a great fashion accessory. However, their most important job is to protect your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. Some of the sun’s effects on the eyes include:
- Cataracts, a clouding of the eye’s lens that can blur vision. An estimated 20% of cases are caused by extended UV exposure.
- Macular degeneration, resulting from damage to the retina that destroys central vision. Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in the United States.
- Pterygium, a tissue growth over the white part of the surface of the eye that can alter the curve of the eyeball, causing astigmatism.
When purchasing sunglasses, look for ones that block out 99 to 100% of both UVA and UVB radiation, so you can keep your vision sharp and eyes healthy. A wide-brimmed hat offers great protection, too!
To learn more information about how the sun can damage your eyes, contact one of our eye care specialists at one of our three convenient locations.
**Portions of this article originally appeared on the National Eye Institute website.