|Eyes and SunWe all know that too much sun can damage our eyesight over time. But what is it about sunlight that makes it so dangerous to our vision? And how should we protect our eyes from the sun?
Sun damage to your eyes
The sun can harm your eyesight – any time of year and even in cloudy conditions. There are four main types of dangerous solar radiation that can harm your eyes:
- UVC rays — Most are blocked by the ozone layer, but as the ozone is depleted, more of these rays are reaching the earth’s surface.
- UVB Rays — In high doses, UVB rays can cause skin cancer, photokeratiti (inflamed cornea)
- UVA Rays — These lower energy rays can pass through the cornea direction into the eye. Over exposure can cause cataracts and macular degeneration.
- HEV (high-energy visible) radiation — With low energy and longer wavelengths than UV rays, HEV rays can penetrate the eye and cause retinal damage.
In the most serious cases, sun damage can cause vision loss and eyelid cancers.
Protecting eyes to the sun
So how do you protect your eyes from the sun?
- Wear sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB light, as well as HEV light
- Your sunglasses should cover your eyes, eyelids and surrounding area
- Wearing a hat with sunglasses offers added protection
- Don’t forget to shield your eyes in cloudy conditions and in winter
- Ensure all members of the family – including children – have adequate eye protection from the sun