UV Exposure And Your Eyes

eye health smoking carlsbad
In fact, smoking can increase your risk for developing many types of eye diseases and disorders. Due to the thousands of chemicals that act as irritants and carcinogens, smoking can disrupt blood flow, causing serious damage to the eyes. Who’s at risk? Heavy smokers and ex-smokers who have smoked for multiple years are at risk of eye damage from these serious disorders.
eye health smoking carlsbad

Eye Sunburns- Ouch!

Sunburn of the eye is called photokeratitis, or “corneal flash burn.” This condition, like a sunburn of the skin, can be painful and causes redness. Other symptoms of eye sunburns include excess tearing, sensitivity to light, mild to severe pain, blurry vision, and the sensation that a foreign object is in the eye.

Suntanning Beds and Eye Damage

Long-term UV exposure can cause serious problems with your eyes, including cataracts, macular degeneration, and choroidal melanoma. Cataracts can cause blurred or frosted vision. Cataracts may develop slowly and will not usually be noticeable until they have advanced. Macular degeneration causes problems with general eyesight for activities such as reading and occurs gradually. Finally, choroidal melanoma is cancer of the eye, and is very difficult to detect.

Protecting Your Eyes From UV Rays

According to Carlsbad ophthalmologist Dr. Tracy, the best way to prevent the long-term damage discussed above is to avoid harmful UV rays of both tanning beds and the sun. However, if you continue to expose yourself to UV rays, always wear proper protection. In tanning beds, never tan without goggles specially designed for indoor tanning, and place additional protection over your eyes to increase your protection. Simply closing your eyes or placing a towel over your eyes will not be sufficient, because your eyelids are too thin to protect you from the strong ultraviolet light, and the harmful rays will penetrate a towel. Sunglasses will also not be sufficient in a tanning bed because they do not protect your eyes from the rays coming in both above and below the frames. You can usually purchase disposable goggles at tanning salons if you do not have your own.

In the sun, it is most important to wear sunglasses that provide adequate protection from all sun exposure. Your sunglasses should block 100% of UV rays and absorb HEV rays. Larger styles, and those with close-fitting wraparound style, provide the best protection because they limit the rays coming in from the peripheral areas of the frames. Because children tend to spend more time outside, it is especially important that they wear proper sunglasses from a young age. Adults who spend a significant amount of time outside due to work or hobbies may want to consider performance or sport sunglasses.

Other Tips for Sunglasses
•  Wear sunglasses even in the shade. Your eyes are still exposed to UV rays in the shade due to reflections from buildings, windows, cars, and other objects.

•  Sunglasses may be more important in the winter. Fresh snow can reflect 80% of UV rays, nearly doubling your overall exposure. It is especially important to wear proper goggles when skiing or snowboarding.
•  Contact lenses are not enough. Even if your lenses block UV rays, sunglasses will help protect the rest of the eye that is not covered, and the delicate skin around your eyes.

•  Sunglasses are important no matter how dark your eyes or skin. The risks of eye damage are the same for all eye and skin colors.

In addition to tanning beds and direct sunlight exposure, there are other causes of sunburn to your eyes:

•  Lightning
•  Photographer’s flood lamps
•  Halogen lamps
•  Welding torches
•  Reflection of sunlight off of water or snow
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Carlsbad Eye Care 6183 Paseo Del Norte Suite 290 Carlsbad, CA 92011 Phone: (760) 603-9910 Fax: (760) 603-9369

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