A lot of people don’t even realise that the sun can be very harmful to our eyes! For example, did you know that eyes can get sun burnt? Luckily a lot of sun related conditions are not permanent, meaning that you will make a full recovery, however it is still important to protect them. Particularly as the sun can cause permanent damage to our vision and the delicate retina.

How does the sun damage your eyes? 

The sun gives out rays called UV rays, there are three different types of UV rays:

  • UVA – low energy UVA are able to get past the cornea, reaching the lens and retina. UVA rays have been linked to the development of cataracts and macular degeneration.
  • UVB – most UVB rays are absorbed by the ozone layer, however rays that make it through are absorbed by the cornea. UVB rays have been linked to the development of photokeratitis, pinguecula and pterygia.
  • UVC – nearly all UVC rays are blocked by the ozone layer, these are the most damaging type of UV rays.

It goes without saying that no one should ever stare at the sun without any protection on their eyes as this can lead to permanent damage of the eyes. Which can lead to severe sight loss particularly with central vision due to damage to the central retina (the macula).

As mentioned before a lot of the damage that is caused by the sun is not permanent, however long-term exposure to the sun can lead to premature vision degeneration.

What can you do to protect your eyes?

It is important that you wear sunglasses when outside. Lots of people don’t know that the sun can cause damage to your eyes in the winter and on over cast days. When choosing your sunglasses, it is important that you choose a set that is 100% UV 400 as this is the only option that will fully protect your eyes from the sun.

We also recommend that you get your child in the habit of wearing sunglasses every time they go outside, so they get used to wearing them.

This article is intended to inform and give insight but not treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a doctor. Always seek medical advice with any questions regarding a medical condition.