Incessant exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays is harmful to human skin. It is one of the main causes of skin cancer. In the same breath, these rays are dangerous for human eyes. Nearly one-third of the adults have symptoms of red eyes, swollen eyes and eye irritation after prolonged exposure to ultraviolet radiation. However, the good news is that the way sunscreen can take care of your skin against these harmful rays; similarly, normal and prescription sunglasses can shield your eyes from them.
Before understanding the precautions, let’s have an insight into UV rays and how it poses a risk to human eyes?
What is UV radiation?
The sun emits different kinds of rays. Among others, the UVA and UVB rays are the ones that don’t get absorbed fully by the atmosphere and ozone layer, posing a risk to the human eyes and skin. However, the level of risk gets determined by the geographical location, altitude and time of the day. So, the closer you live to the equator the more is the risk, the UV level is more in higher altitudes, and one is at a greater risk when exposed to these rays between 10 AM and 4 PM according to the American Skin Association.
Pollution & Global Warming Increasing the Risk
Aggravating the problem is the rising pollution level in Indian cities. According to the World Health Organisation’s global air pollution database, India has 14 out of the 15 most polluted cities in terms of PM 2.5 and PM 10 concentration level. The national capital, New Delhi tops the database in both PM 2.5 and PM 10 levels, and the financial capital, Mumbai follows closely in the level of PM 10. These air pollutants are depleting the ozone layer. This is concern worthy as it is this ozone layer that filters the harmful UVB rays.
Along with the rising pollution levels, global warming and increasing temperatures are also depleting the ozone layer. According to the World Meteorological Organisation, the past three years have been the hottest, across the globe. By 2100, studies indicate that global temperatures will increase by 2 degree Celsius. This rise in city temperatures is directly proportional to increasing urbanization, vehicular traffic and carbon footprint. The more the ozone layer depletes, the more human beings will get exposed to harmful UV rays.
Read on to know how it is leading to common vision problems.
Risk to the Eyes
UV rays are harmful to the human eye as it is the main cause of different eye problems. It is known to cause eye diseases like,
- Macular Degeneration: A higher exposure to UV radiation is directly linked with early onset of age-related macular degeneration. This mainly impacts older adults and is the primary cause of blindness in adults over 60 years of age.
- Photokeratitis: If you thought it is the summer sun, which is more harmful to your eyes, then know that the winter sun can be twice as dangerous. This is because in snowy regions the snow is reflective and is the main reason behind Photokeratitis. It is also known as snow blindness as it leads to temporary vision loss.
- Cataracts: According to the report by the World Health Organisation, nearly 20% of the cataract cases are preventable and are due to UV rays.
- Pingueculae and Pterygia: It is a visible growth on the eye surface, which causes corneal problems and even vision distortion.
- Cancer: Exposure to UVB is one of the most common causes of eyelid tumours. Besides, a study by the Skin Cancer Foundation reveals that one-tenth of the skin cancers are in the eyelid.
Start Taking Precautions Now
All these eye problems take place due to prolonged exposure to UV radiation. Moreover, the damage done cannot be reversed. This makes it imperative to protect your eyes now. The best way to protect your eyes is by using sunglasses. However, not every pair of sunglasses can provide complete defence. You should buy them after reading the labels and ensure that you get 100% protection from UV rays.
Besides, if you wear spectacles, then using prescription sunglasses is a must each time you are out in the sun. It will help you in enjoying clear vision while safeguarding your eyes from the harmful UV rays. So, go to a certified optometrist, get an eye examination done, check the label for UV protection and then get the prescription sunglasses made. You need not worry about the colour of the sunglasses lens. With every colour lens, you will get the same level of protection. So, you can choose the lens colour as you wish!
However, the frame style does matter. Look for a style in sunglasses from which fewer rays can pass. Ideally, opt for a close-fitting and wraparound style. Let protection and comfort take precedence when it comes to selecting power sunglasses. You can explore a range of trendy sunglasses for men & women at a Vision Express store. Make use of the free eye checkup and get sunglasses that provide you with clear vision while protecting your eyes. We are for eyewear and eye care!