Excessive sun exposure not only damages the skin, but it can also damage the eyes. In fact, studies have shown that the ultraviolet light from the sun can raise the risk of cataracts. It can also cause benign ocular growths such as Pterygium, also known as Surfer’s Eye, to develop in the eyes. Additionally, excessive exposure to ultraviolet light can increase a person’s chance of eye cancer.
Who Is at Risk for Eye Damage from Sun Exposure?
Anyone who is exposed to excessive sunlight can suffer eye damage. However, some people are at a greater risk for it than others:
- People who take photo-sensitizing drugs are at a greater risk for suffering eye damage from the sun. Certain birth control pills, antibiotics, and medications used to treat psoriasis are examples of photo-sensitizing drugs. In rare cases, naproxen sodium and ibuprofen can also increase the risk of eye damage from the sun.
- People who have light-colored eyes are also more likely to suffer eye damage if they are exposed to excessive sunlight.
- Children are especially susceptible to sun damage to their eyes.
- People who have undergone cataract surgery are also at an increased risk of eye damage from ultraviolet light. The lens are removed during cataract surgery and a person’s natural lens are replaced with intraocular lens. The intraocular lens do not absorb as much light as plastic or glass eyeglasses. However, many manufacturers today are making UV-absorbent intraocular lenses. Even if you have the new UV-absorbent intraocular lenses, it is still important to be cautious when you are out in the sun.
How to Protect Your Eyes from the Sun
To protect your eyes from against sun exposure and damage, always follow these tips:
- Wear wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses when you are outside.
- Do not look directly at the sun.
- Protect your eyes, even on a cloudy day. Ultraviolet rays can pass through clouds.
Furthermore, it is important to remember that sun damage can occur during any time of the year. Be sure to wear wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses year-round when you are outside.
- American Academy of Ophthalmology Article: People With Increased Risk of Eye Damage from UV Light
- American Academy of Ophthalmology Article: Eye Cancer