Two different types of light can enter the eye: ultra violet (UV) light and visible light. While visible light, such as sunlight, can be seen, UV light cannot and even on cloudy days when visible light is minimized, UV rays can still be high. Over time, exposure to UV rays can increase the occurrence of eye problems and eye cancers.
Type of UV Rays
- UVA: The lens in your eye absorbs UVA rays, but these rays can damage your macula (back part of your eye), hurting your central vision.
- UVB: UVB rays are often absorbed by the cornea and lens (front parts of your eye), but these rays may cause more damage to your eyes than UVA rays.
- UVC: UVC rays have the highest energy and are most harmful to your eyes but most are absorbed by the ozone layer.
Eye Problems Caused by UV Rays
In addition to eyelid and conjunctival cancers, intraocular and conjunctival melanomas, and benign growths on the conjunctiva, UV rays can also cause or contribute to these additional common eye problems:
- Macular Degeneration: Macular degeneration due to long term UVA exposure is a leading cause of vision loss for older Americans.
- Cataracts: UVB rays have been directly linked to cataracts, the clouding of the eye’s natural lens (the focusing mechanism) which leads to a decrease in vision. Over one million operations are performed to remove cataracts every year in the United States alone.
- Corneal Sunburn: High short-term exposure to UVB rays can literally burn the cornea and cause photokeratitis (corneal sunburn). This very painful condition may cause temporary vision loss.
Protecting Your Eyes
It is important to protect your eyes at all times with large brimmed hats, visors, UV coated eyeglasses and sunglasses that are guaranteed to protect against 100% of all UV rays. To ensure your eye health, you should also have a complete ophthalmologic exam on a yearly basis.
Automotive, Residential, and Commercial Window Films Can Help Protect Eyes
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