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UV Radiation - How Can It Affect Your Eyes?

Reviewed by
Dr. Rohit Grover 90% (10 ratings)
MS - Ophthalmology, MBBS
Ophthalmologist, Chandigarh  •  38 years experience
UV Radiation - How Can It Affect Your Eyes?

Are you the one who loves to be outdoor for long hours? Or, does your work keep you under the sun for long? Well, if it is so, you need to be alert about your eyes. Long exposure to sunlight can damage your eyes. Put your glares and hat on a hot sunny day to keep your eyes away from any kind of damage.

There are several eye diseases, which are either caused or aggravated due to long exposure to sunlight. UV radiation can be generated from a natural or artificial source. Regardless of its origin, these rays are harmful for the human eye. Usually, when we talk of UV rays, we think of its adverse effects on skin. However, it is not just the skin that gets affected. The eyes are equally vulnerable.

What are UV rays?

It is a part of the solar radiation. These are of three types: UV-C, UV-A and UV-B. While UV-C is absorbed by the ozone layer, the other two rays penetrate the layer to affect human body.

It’s effect on eyesight

UV rays cause damage to the eyes. There are several diseases or disorder caused by these rays. Some of these have been discussed below:

  1. Macular Degeneration: It happens as the retina is damaged by the UV rays. It leads to age-related blindness. It usually happens to people who are exposed to UV rays for a long period.

  2. Cataract: It is a disorder in which the eye lens gets clouded. About 10% cases of cataract are caused due to exposure to UV rays. This is caused by UV-B rays.

  3. Pterygium: This disease is often known as ‘surfer’s eye’. In this disease, a pink, non-cancerous growth is formed on the conjunctiva. UV rays cause these growths.

  4. Skin Cancer of the eyelids: UV rays can cause cancer of the skin in and around the eyelids.

  5. Photokeratitis: This is known as corneal sunburn or ‘snow blindness’. Photokeratitis occurs due to spending long hours at the beach or skiing. If a person doesn’t take proper eye protection during these activities, this disease can occur. It sometimes causes temporary vision loss.

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