Most of us are guilty of failing to wear sunscreen every time we step outside, or forgetting to don our sunglasses before taking off. While these are minor slip ups that we all do, sometimes more frequently than we’d like to, we should be more cognizant of protecting ourselves on sunny days. The sun’s rays are harmful to more than just our skin, but also our eyes. UV rays are nothing to shrug off. Here are three important facts to keep in mind bout UV radiation, and why you should protect yourself from it. Here's what you need to remember about UV light and eyes:
1. They are the leading cause of skin cancer
Unfortunately, skin cancer has become more common in recent years. Prolonged exposure to UV rays is the main factor that causes skin cancer. Your skin is your largest organ, so remember to protect it next time you plan to spend time outside and apply sunscreen first. Just as your skin can get burned from UV exposure, your eyes can too. They become red and irritated, making blinking uncomfortable and lowering the quality of your vision. Remember to grab sunglasses after sunblock to prevent this!
2. UV rays damage your corneas
The UV rays that damage your skin can have the same permanent effects on your corneas as well. Your eyes can develop cancer just as skin and other organs do, so it’s important to protect them by wearing sunglasses and limiting sun exposure when possible. Over time, long exposure to UV rays can lead to decreased vision and eventually blindness. Your eyes also take quite a lot of damage from the sun since they’re just as exposed, and more sensitive. Wearing sunglasses should be a normal part of your daily routine.
3. Long exposure can lead to different eye complications later in life
While forgetting your sunglasses once in a while is no big deal, you should be cautious of the dangers that never wearing them carries. Over time, exposure to UV rays can deteriorate the internal structures of the eye, making it more difficult to see. Macular degeneration, which is essentially the breakdown of the retina, can lead to vision loss later in life. Cataracts are also common, which cloud the lens of the eye and make seeing more difficult. These conditions, while manageable, are uncomfortable and make life more difficult than it has to be. The easiest way to prevent this from happening is by shielding your eyes from UV rays whenever possible. Sunglasses are necessary, but staying out of the sun also goes a long way!