Learn why it’s important to have proper eyewear while spending time outdoors.
Protecting eyes from the sun may seem like common knowledge or common sense, but many people fail to realize the hazards of overexposing their eyes to sunlight.
Too much sunlight and exposure to harmful ultra violet (UV) rays can lead to the development of cataracts, macular degeneration or growths on the eye. People who spend a great deal of time outside due to their favorite recreation or occupation should consider wearing dedicated sunglasses or updating their prescription lenses to a transitional lens — clear indoors, tinted outdoors.
Diseases like cataracts can take years to develop, but it’s important to remember that each time you are out in the sun without protection you are adding damage to your eyes. Those UV rays are hastening a biochemical process in the eye that’s causing the cataracts to develop.
After cataract surgery, it’s even more important to protect your eyes from sunlight and UV rays. With the cataract lens out of the eye, you will see things clearer and brighter, but the eye will also be more sensitive. New intraocular lenses absorb UV radiation, but the older versions do not. Therefore it is still important to protect your eyes from the sun.
Most prescription lenses come with UV protection. Those made of polycarbonate and other high-index lenses come with UV protection as a standard feature at Sam’s Club. The actual glass lenses do not feature UV protection as standard.
There are certain drugs that can make some people more susceptible to UV damage to their eyes. Certain antibiotics, hormones, and in some rare cases ibuprofen can increase photosensitivity in users.
Many people who are sensitive to sunlight can experience ocular discomfort. This is not the same as the medical condition that leads to cataracts. In these cases, the sun hurts the eyes due to photoreceptor sensitivity. That’s where having a transitional lens is really nice. You can wear your glasses all the time, without having to keep up with a second pair.
But, having a dedicated pair of sunglasses is also very advantageous. If you are spending prolonged time in the sun at a ballgame, the pool or working in the yard, sunglasses can be more comfortable and cover more of the eye area, offering a little better coverage than regular frames.
Don’t take any risks this summer. Ask your eye- care professional about transitional lenses, prescription sunglasses or any discomfort you may be experiencing due to sun exposure.
Dr. Alisa Burnett
Sam’s Club #6409, Tucker, GA