UV Light & its effects to the eye

The human eye is constantly being exposed to sunlight and artificial light. Natural sunlight or artificial UV rays that produce UV radiation can seriously harm the eyes, affect vision and compromise overall eye health. There are several eye diseases that are caused by long term exposure to UV radiation.

a) Cataracts
A cataract is the clouding of the eye’s natural lens. Cataract is usually caused by aging; however, it can progress rapidly with increased exposure to UV light. This condition causes decrease in vision and glare. A cataract surgery is performed to replace the eye’s natural lens with an artificial lens.

UV Light & its effects to the eye

b) Photokeratitis
This condition is swelling or inflammation of the cornea due to excessive UV exposure. This is usually caused by high intensity light from welding equipment. Temporary symptoms include pain, tearing, twitching of eyelids and discomfort when exposed to bright lights. This condition requires treatment with antibiotics and artificial tears to help relieve its symptoms.

UV Light & its effects to the eye

c) Pterygium
A wing-shaped growth on the cornea that can show up due to prolong exposure to UV light. Those who are at risk of developing this eye condition are surfers, skiers, fisherman and farmers who spend long hours under the midday sun near the rivers, oceans and mountains. If a pterygium grows progressively, it can cause symptoms such as itchiness and discomfort. A surgery will be advised to remove it to save vision.

UV Light & its effects to the eye

d) Skin Cancer
Skin cancer around the eyelids have also been linked to prolong UV exposure. Melanoma, the most common type of cancer involving the eyes sometimes require surgical removal of the eyeball.

UV Light & its effects to the eye

It is important to note that we do need some amount of sunlight to promote our physical and mental health in many ways. Healthy exposure to sunlight can have positive effects to a person. A little natural sunlight everyday can help you sleep well. The light-sensitive cells in the eye plays a natural role in our body’s natural wake-sleep cycles. Spending time outdoors in the natural sunlight has also been shown to prevent development of myopia or short-sightedness in kids. It is important to protect your eyes from long hours of UV exposure by using proper eyewear. Regular eye examinations with an Ophthalmologist is also important so that eye disease related to UV exposure can be detected early.