Preventing the Harmful Effects of the Sun on Your Eyes

Your skin isn’t the only body part that needs protection from the sun. At De Anza Vision we’ve spent years treating sun damaged eyes and helping our patients avoid the long-term consequences of sun damage. We know how important it is to protect your vision and ocular health, so we want to share some helpful ways to prevent the harmful effects of the sun on your eyes.

Premature Aging due to Sun Damage

Tinted sunglasses and hats are everyday ways to shield your eyes from the bright glare of direct sunlight. While they don’t always prevent UV damage (unless you have specific protective lenses), regular sunglasses and other protective eyewear do prevent some superficial consequences of direct UV rays. For example, if you wear sunglasses outdoors on a regular basis, you may not develop “crows’ feet” wrinkles around your eyes from squinting into the harsh sunlight.

Eye Conditions Caused by Sun Exposure

Too much direct sunlight can also cause a variety of health conditions, which may temporarily or permanently damage your vision. Many of these long-term conditions are caused by physical sun damage to sensitive parts of the eye, such as the retina, cornea or outer membrane.

  • Solar retinopathy – retina damage due to solar radiation
  • Pterygium (AKA “surfer’s eye”) – triangle-shaped growth in membrane or cornea
  • Photokeratitis – sun damaged cornea, similar to sunburn
  • Photoconjunctivitis – inflamed outer membrane, similar to “pink eye”
  • Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the conjunctiva – tumor on the eye’s surface
  • Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) – cancerous growths on the eyelids

Some of these conditions may take years to develop, but others are caused by short periods of intense exposure to UV radiation. Your We can help you treat the complications of short-term and long-term sun damage, but it’s easier to prevent the damage before it happens.

Benefits of Sun Exposure in Moderation

Of course, there are also some health benefits of sun exposure. Your eyes are light-sensitive for a variety of practical reasons, but the most apparent is mood and sleep regulation. Natural sunlight exposure increases your Vitamin D levels, regulates your sleep cycles, and boosts your serotonin. In fact, people in cloudy climates invest in UV lamps to stave off insomnia and other conditions, such as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Sunlight has even been linked to reduced chances of near-sightedness in children.

Protect Your Eyes from the San Jose Sun

Sunglasses with UV protection are important tools in your fight against sun damage. However, even in sunny California, people forget to protect their ocular health. Remember that UV damage can happen even on cloudy and cold days, because UV rays pierce through water vapor to reach your skin and eyes. We offer a variety of sunglasses and removable lenses that protect your eyes from sun damage, as well as contact lenses with UV-resistant technology. Contact us to learn more about your sun protection options.