Staying out under the sun while swimming in the pool, making sandcastles on the beach, tossing frisbees at the park can really be enjoyable “fun in the sun” activities. However, did you know that despite the fun you are having, there is a greater risk of dangers awaiting from excessive sun exposure?
Here are the top 5 eye problems you can get from staying too much under the sun.
Top 5 Eye Conditions Linked to Excessive Sun Exposure
1. Corneal Sunburn
The cornea is the transparent covering of the eye surface and could be considered as the “skin” of the eye. Similar to the skin, the cornea can be sunburned and this condition is called photokeratitis. This is the inflammation of the cornea due to unfiltered UV exposure and could be painful.
To prevent photokeratitis, it is recommended to wear proper UV protective eyewear.
Ultraviolet (UV) exposure is 80% the cause of visible signs of aging, creating new wrinkles, looseness in the skin, and sunspots around the face and the body. Squinting because of too much light from the sun can also cause crow’s feet and may actually deepen existing wrinkles.
Wear protective sunglasses that can block UV rays to minimize further skin and eye damage.
Cataracts are the opacity of the lens that affects normal vision and sun exposure can increase the risks of developing cataracts. Cataracts that hinder normal vision can be treated with surgical removal of the clouded lens and replacing it with a clear artificial lens.
Just like the usual prevention, wearing of UV blocking protective eyewear can help reduce cataract formation from sun exposure.
4. Macular Degeneration Macular degeneration is characterized by the disruption of the macula, which is the center of the retina and is responsible for sharp vision. Though not yet fully understood, some research implies that sun exposure can worsen age-related macular degeneration.
Comprehensive eye exams and protective sun wear can prevent the progression of macular degeneration.
5. Pinguecula and Pterygia
Pinguecula and pterygia are abnormal growths on the sclera or the white part of the eye due to excessive UV exposure from the sun. A pterygium can be dangerous as it can potentially spread onto the cornea and affect vision, although pinguecula does not.
The best preventative treatment for these growths is proper UV protection. If the pterygium already affects vision, surgical removal options may be considered while topical lubricant can be prescribed for mild irritations.