Ultraviolet is a wavelength shorter than visible light. Sunlight produces UV rays. If we get overexposed to UV radiation, we can tan, freckle and sunburn. We also have a higher risk of skin cancer with too much exposure. There are some beneficial effects from UV. It helps in the formation of bone-strengthening vitamin D.
The Human Eye
The lens of the human eye blocks most of the ultraviolet radiation. The photoreceptors of the retina are sensitive to the UV rays. Children are more susceptible to retinal damage because the lens of the eye is clearer than an adult lens. Therefore, more UV light will transfer deeper into the eye. When we have extended times of exposure to UV light, humans can develop cataracts, macular degeneration, pterygiums and pingueculae.
Sunglasses that block 100% of the UV A (aging rays) and UV B (burning rays) are the best way to protect the tissue of the eyes. Glare off of snow, sand and water can also be hazardous to the human eye. Polarized lenses are the best option to reduce glare while driving or playing outside. Photochromic or Transition lenses are a great option in everyday glasses to help reduce the effect of UV light on the eyes.
For more information, set up an eye exam at Vaske Vision Care. Our optometrist can advise you about UV protection and other important eye health information.