In its 2016 UV Protection Report, The Vision Council stated that one-third of adults have experienced some form of problem from UV exposure. These include sunburns, red or irritated eyes, vision problems, wrinkles, and/or cancer of the eye. That is why it is surprising that many Americans still have a lax approach to wearing sunglasses.
Shady Grove Eye and Vision Care, home to your trusted optometrist in Rockville, MD, looks at the effects of prolonged UV exposure on your eye health. First, let us examine the stats:
Shades by Generation
Kids – Only 29% of parents say their children wear shades often
20s – A whopping 55% of them never, rarely, or only sometimes wear sunglasses
30s – A huge 58% always or often wear sunglasses, more than any other age group
40s – More than two-thirds of this group keeps their sunglasses handy, protecting their eyes from UV since they have felt the pain of UV rays on unprotected eyes
50s – About 24% admit they forget to wear their shades before heading out the door
Short-Term Effects of Prolonged UV Exposure
The stats show a disturbing trend. If it continues, patients may be at risk of:
Photokeratitis – This is a sunburn of the cornea. Also known as “snow blindness,” it can cause severe discomfort although its damage is not permanent.
Pterygium – This is an abnormal but usually benign growth on the surface of the eye. It most often originates in the corner near the nose, and can cause irritation, swelling, itchiness, and corneal problems that may affect vision.
Cataracts – This is a progressive clouding of the lenses of the eyes. Today, it is the most common cause of vision loss in people 40 and older. Sadly, only 26% of Americans know that this condition is an effect of unprotected UV exposure. As the top provider of prescription eyeglasses in Alexandria, VA, we recommend seeing your eye doctor as soon as you begin to notice a cloudy sensation in your vision.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) – Higher UV exposure at an earlier age has been significantly associated with the early onset of this problem. This is because UV radiation can induce photo oxidative stress in the retinas and may drive aging events that lead to AMD sooner or later.
An eye exam in Alexandria, VA, will be necessary to detect, treat, or manage any of these conditions. Either way, prevention is still better than cure. If you or someone you know is struggling with the effects of prolonged UV exposure, schedule a visit with us today.
You can fill out our request form or simply give us a call at (301) 859-4060.