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How does UV light damage my eyes?

Studies show that exposure to UVA & UVB radiation can contribute to the risk of the following eye disorders:

  • Pterygium – A benign growth on the eye surface.
  • Macular Degeneration – Damage to the central vision area due to cumulative UV radiation.
  • Cateracts – Responsible for one half of 35 million cases of blindness worldwide. It is a cloudiness of the eye lens caused by long term over exposure to UV radiation.
Left: Eyes with Pterygium, on the right a Cateract caused by long term over exposure to UV radiation

On the left Pterygium, on the right a Cateract caused by long term over exposure to UV radiation

In addition there are other disorders which are also associated with UV exposure:

  • Dry eye syndrome – The heat and the sun can both cause dryness in the eye: they evaporate the lachrymal film, the protective veil that covers the cornea and provides a natural form of protection for the eye.
  • Keratitis – Symptoms include intense pain and difficulty in opening the eyes. Fixed, prolonged exposure to the sun (for instance sunbathing) heats up and completely dries the eye and causes serious problems to the epithelial cells.
  • Conjunctivitis – Puffy, red eyes that burn and itch are the signs of conjunctivitis, which can also be caused by exposure to strong winds.

Here’s more info on how to protect yourself better: Eye Health and Ultraviolet Radiation

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