Preventing Sun Damage to Eyes

February 15, 2015

Finally, the days are getting longer here in Alberta.

But even before the sun reaches its longest days, we still have some quite blinding sunlight to contend with, often glaring right off white snow, which can be very hard on the eyes. Have you suffered a day in tough conditions without your sunglasses, and wondered if the sun is actually damaging your vision, and how?

Consider potentially very intense lighting scenarios such as:

– Working outdoors in the snow
– Skiing/snowboarding/skating or tobogganing
– Driving/ Road trips (and then trying to see while driving at night)
– Hot vacations involving water and beaches
– Tanning beds (very intense light: up to 100 times more UV intense than sun!)

Intense, prolonged exposure to sun over time can certainly create eye and vision problems….some of which are very hard to reverse, potentially causing blindness:

– Keratitis, or “Corneal Sunburn” – Sun exposure can cause your cornea to superficially or permanently scar. This can be painful and have permanent effects to your vision, depending on how it scars.

– Eye Cancers: Sun damage is instrumental in causing eye cancers – which can occur in skin of the eyelid area, or in the eye itself.

– Cataracts: At least 10% of cataract cases are directly attributed to ultraviolet sun exposure. Cataracts create a clouding and yellowing of the lens area (looks like your eyesight is fogging over).

– Macular Degeneration: This is a gradual loss of focus due to retinal damage. Although usually associated with old age, studies suggest greater UVA and HEV light exposure are potential contributing factors.

So how can you prevent sun damage to the eyes?

At Eyesafe, we recommend you wear glasses with 100% UVA/UVB protection as often as you can – working, driving, or while outdoors whether it’s sunny or cloudy outside. Wrap around styles will give you the most protection. If you require safety glasses for the nature of your work, special coatings can be added to your safety glasses ensure you are getting sun protection.

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