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3 Ways UV Rays Can Impact Eye Health

Living in Florida, many are aware that exposure to ultraviolet rays of light from the sun can be damaging. However, when it comes to UV rays, more people are aware of damage to the skin than the eye. In fact, Americans are more likely to identify the long-term effects of UV on their skin than on their eyes, according to a report from The Vision Council. 

Unfortunately, UV rays can negatively impact vision health in a variety of ways. In this brief article, an eye specialist in Tampa with the Florida Eye Center shares the top three issues for which UV exposure poses a risk. 

Cataracts

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that up to 20 percent of all cataract cases are preventable and can be attributable to UV radiation. That means that one in every five people who suffer from cataracts could have prevented them with simple measures. 

In each of our eyes, we have a natural lens that refracts light rays to help us see. If you have a cataract, this lens becomes cloudy, causing your vision to look hazy, blurry, or muted in color. Cataracts may be treated with laser eye surgery in Tampa through state-of-the-art phacoemulsification in which the cataract is removed, and an artificial lens is implanted through a single small incision. 

Macular Degeneration

As you age, your eyes may experience common changes related to age. Some of these changes are not preventable, but in the case of UV rays, higher levels of UV exposure at an early age has been consistently associated with age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD is the leading cause of blindness in adults 60 and older, and while it may not always be preventable, it can certainly be worsened with UV exposure. 

Cancer 

You may be aware of melanoma of the skin, but prolonged UV exposure can also cause ocular melanoma. This is a type of skin cancer that forms in the eye, but it may not stay localized to the eye. Malignant skin cancer in the eye can spread to other organs at worst and lead to the removal of the impacted eye at best. For this reason, it’s vital that you take simple precautions to lower your risk of UV damage. 

How to Prevent UV Damage to the Eyes

For those who are aware of the damaging effects of UV rays, there is still a lack of knowledge about how to prevent UV damage to the eyes. The most simple way to prevent UV damage to the eyes is to simply wear sunglasses or contact lenses with UV protection. However, even though 75 percent of Americans report having concerns about UV eye exposure, less than one-third (31 percent) wear sunglasses every time they go outside, according to the 2016 VisionWatch survey of more than 10,000 adults 18 and older.

The color of the sunglass lenses does not matter, but the style may have an impact. For example, a style that sits closer to the face with more coverage, like a wraparound style, can better protect against UV damage. Further, contact lenses can provide an extra layer of protection. If you are concerned about the best ways to protect your eyes from UV rays, an eye specialist in Tampa with Florida Eye Center can help you find the right lenses to protect your eyes. 

To schedule a consultation with an eye doctor in Tampa at the Florida Eye Center, please request an appointment today.

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