Question: Can UV rays damage your eyes?     Answer: Yes.


The UV-A rays can harm your central vision. It can damage the macula a part of the retina at the back of the eye. The UV-B rays can harm the cornea and the lens of the front of the eye. Over time, the effects of UV rays may cause a number of eye problems. UV rays, especially UV-B rays, may cause some kinds of cataracts. A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s natural lens – the part of the eye that focuses the light we see.    UV rays may lead to macular degeneration, a leading cause of vision loss for older Americans.

Another UV- related problem is a growth call pterygium. This growth begins on the white part of the eye and may involve the cornea. Eventually, the growth may block vision. It is most common in people who work outside in the sun and wind. Corneal sunburn, called photokeratitis, is the result of long hours at the beach or skiing without proper eye protection. It can be very painful and may cause temporary vision loss. Skin cancer around the eyelids is also linked to prolonged UV exposure.

You can protect your eyes from harmful UV rays by wearing a brimmed hat or cap, and eyewear that absorbs UV rays.  A UV- blocking sunscreen of SPF 30 or greater should be worn to protect the skin. When outdoors, UV- blocking sunwear is also recommended.

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