Why Sun Protection Is Important for Your Eyes

Summer is in full swing, and hopefully, you're spending time outside. You should be wearing sunscreen, hats, and UV-blocking clothing to protect your skin from the harmful ultraviolet rays in sunlight. (And masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19). 

But are your sunglasses up to the task? UV rays can harm your eyes, too, and if your sunglasses don't filter out UV light, you're leaving yourself vulnerable to a wide range of eye problems. 

At Paragon Eye Associates in Arlington and Mansfield, Texas, our expert optometrists and ophthalmologists want to help you protect your eyes. We also believe that knowledge is power, so let's explore why sun protection is essential for your eyes and what to look for when choosing your next pair of sunglasses. 

The sun can damage your eyes

The UV rays in sunlight accelerate the breakdown of tissues in your body and can trigger cellular changes. Some of the common eye conditions linked to sun damage include:

Cataracts

Cataracts develop when the proteins in your intraocular lenses break down and the fragments clump together, clouding the lenses. While cataracts usually develop slowly and can take decades to interfere with your vision, excessive sun exposure can accelerate the process. 

Pterygium

Pterygium is a benign growth on the surface of your eye. It's common in surfers, lifeguards, skiers, and snowboarders. Pterygium is often itchy and causes uncomfortable swelling that can interfere with your vision. When left untreated, a pterygium can cause corneal damage. 

Photokeratitis

Photokeratitis is an inflammatory condition that affects your cornea. Also known as snow blindness, photokeratitis causes temporary vision loss for up to 48 hours. 

Macular degeneration

Macular degeneration occurs when your macula — the part of your retina that provides your central vision — is damaged. The condition is age-related, but overexposure to UV light can accelerate the degenerative process. 

Skin cancer

You can get skin cancer, including melanoma, on your eyelids. Skin cancers are the most common types of cancer. Growths on your eyelid can interfere with your vision and put pressure on your eyeball, leading to damage. 

Choosing sunglasses

Sunglasses with UV-blocking lenses can protect your eyes. When you want sunglasses, keep these tips in mind:

UV damage is cumulative, so it's essential to wear sunglasses all the time. If you have children, you should invest in UV-blocking sunglasses for them, too. It's never too late to protect your eyes. 

If you have questions about sunlight and your eye health, or if you have questions about choosing the right sunglasses, call our offices in Arlington or Mansfield, Texas, or send us a message here on our website. 

We offer a variety of sunglasses for men, women, and children, including prescription and nonprescription lenses.

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