How to Protect Your Eyes from Sunlight, UV Light

Author: Premier Eye Associates

The sun produces intense light and contains many wavelengths of ultraviolet light. These UV rays along with the intense sunlight can cause many eye problems if proper precautions are not used.


Why is Sunlight Harmful?

Being outside and getting direct sunlight exposure is proven to have many health benefits from increased dopamine production to improved vitamin D synthesis, however too much exposure can be problematic.

The body is not well equipped to handle excessive exposure to the UV rays which are contained in sunlight.

As a result of these harmful UV rays, the eyes along with the rest of the body, may experience various negative symptoms.


What Eye Problems Can Excessive Sun Exposure Cause?

When the eyes are exposed to lots of sunlight repeatedly over a long period of time, several eye conditions can develop or worsen.

Just like the rest of the skin, the eyelids are susceptible to a sunburn which may even be more painful due to the frequent movement with blinking.

Over many years of sun exposure, cataracts may form or develop quicker in the lens inside the eye. These cataracts are a result of the lens absorbing most of the UV radiation in the eyes.

Another potentially harmful condition that can develop is a pterygium. This is a condition in which abnormal epithelial tissue grows onto the cornea.

A pterygium can cause eye irritation, blurry vision, and may obscure the central vision and require surgery to remove.


Methods to Protect Your Eyes from Sunlight

Depending on the duration and type of activity, there are different methods with which you can protect your eyes from the harmful effects of sunlight.

Wearing sunglasses or tinted glasses, wearing a hat with a brim, applying sunscreen to the skin around the eyes, and wearing contact lenses which block UV radiation are all good options for eye protection.


Wearing Sunglasses to Protect from UV Light

Sunglasses are the most common and abundant form of eye protection from sunlight. Sunglasses provide protection for the internal parts of the eyes as well as some protection for the skin around the eyes.

When choosing sunglasses, it is important to consider the darkness of the tint and whether or not the sunglasses will block UV light. Darker glasses that block UV light provide the best protection from sunlight damage.


Wearing a Hat with a Brim as Eye Protection

While not as protective as sunglasses, in many cases a hat with a brim can be used to block direct light from hitting the eyes or face.

Wearing a hat alone does not provide enough protection for the internal portion of the eyes to be used for long term protection.


Applying Sunscreen as Eye Protection

Sunscreen is extremely beneficial in preventing painful skin sunburns. This includes the sensitive skin around the eyes.

When applying sunscreen, it is important not to get any sunscreen into the eyes as it can harm the eye and can be extremely irritating.


Contact Lenses as Eye Protection from UV Light

Many contact lenses are now made with inherent properties to absorb UV radiation rather than allowing it to pass into the inside of the eye.

This is a great way to protect the internal structures of the eye and can be an everyday form of protection.

These contact lenses are not tinted or colored and can provide the same clear vision inside or at night while offering protection in the intense sunlight.


Dr. Anthony Spina and the staff of Premier Eye Associates specialize in glasses, soft contact lenses, hard contact lenses, and medical eye exams. Call our eye doctor in Auburn, AL today at (334) 539-5391 or schedule an appointment online  if you are interested in learning more about protecting your eyes from the UV light from sunlight.  Our optometrist provides only the highest quality eye care services amongst eye doctors in the Auburn Alabama area.

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