UV Radiation Exposure Linked To Both Temporary And Long-Term Eye Damage

sunglasses uvThe summer months are once again upon us.  The sun’s warm rays may feel good, but we need to take precautions when out in the sun, especially against the harmful effects of UV rays on our eyes. According to Richard Angrist, MD, Chief of Ophthalmology at Kimball Medical Center and a noted top doctor by Castle Connolly, a healthcare research and information company, ultraviolet radiation exposure has been linked to both temporary and long-term eye damage, including cataracts, macular degeneration, pingueculae and pterygia, and photokeratitis that can cause temporary vision loss.  “We all know and understand that the sun’s rays over time can cause skin cancer,” he explains.  “However, most people don’t realize the damage UV rays can do to your eyes.”  
 
Various eye problems have been associated with overexposure to UV radiation. “UVB rays can cause growths on the eye’s surface called pingueculae and pterygia.  Theses growths are not only unsightly but can cause corneal problems and distorted vision,” says Dr. Angrist.
 
“UVB rays can cause a painful inflammation of the cornea causing snowy vision.  Known as photokeratitis, this condition sometimes causes temporary vision loss usually lasting up to 48 hours,” he explains.  “UVA exposure is responsible for cataracts and other conditions including macular degeneration.”
 
To best protect your eyes, Dr. Angrist recommends wearing wraparound sunglasses with 100 percent UV protection.  “I also recommend wearing a hat with a broad rim to provide extra protection for your eyes,” he stated.  “If you are an outdoor sports enthusiast, you can even purchase sport or performance sunglasses, which will stay in place while you are moving around.”
 
If you wear contact lenses with UV protection, don’t be fooled into thinking that your eyes are protected.  According to Dr. Angrist, the contact lens will protect only the portion of the eye which is covered by the contact lens, not the entire eye.
 
It is also important to have your eyes checked by a vision specialist like Dr. Angrist on a yearly basis. 
 
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Angrist or another ophthalmologist on staff at Kimball Medical Center, you can call the Saint Barnabas Health Care Link at 1-888-724-7123.

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