Your life and eyes 5 min read

Is UV light dangerous for your eyes?

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You’ve probably heard a lot about UV light and the dangers it can pose to your health, but how much do you really know about it? Here we take an in-depth look at what UV light is, the effect it has on you and how you can protect yourself effectively from any dangers.

What is UV light?

UV light comes from two sources, with the primary source being the sun. The sun emits a range of wavelengths known as the electromagnetic spectrum. This spectrum is made up of various regions, with some of the most common known as radio waves, infrared, visible light, ultraviolet (UV) and X-rays.

Electromagnetic spectrum chart showing blue light and UV light

UV light appears on the spectrum in between visible light and X-rays, and is split into 3 different types; UVA, UVB and UVC.

It is UVB rays that often cause you to go brown in the sun, or burn if you aren’t careful. UVA rays can also penetrate your skin, but they have a bigger impact on your eye health than your skin. We’ll look more at this later. UVC rays could be the most dangerous of all, but luckily, they can’t get through the atmosphere. People who work with welding torches or mercury lamps may be exposed to UVC rays and should wear appropriate protective headwear and clothing.

UV light is also emitted from some artificial lighting, such as sun beds.

What effect does UV light have on you?

UV light is known to cause sunburns and can increase your risk of skin cancer. Sunburn is a sign that the DNA in your skill cells have been damaged by UV radiation.

If the damage to your DNA builds up over time, it can lead to skin cancer. Some people are more at risk than others. However, getting sunburnt doesn’t mean you will definitely develop it, but you should always take care.

UV light can also have a detrimental effect on your eyes, as mentioned earlier. UVA rays can pass through your cornea and into the retina of your eye. Overexposure of this kind can lead to other health problems.

Overexposure to UV light is one of the leading causes of problems including cataracts and photokeratitis.

Cataracts affects vision and comfort

In moderation, UV light can have some beneficial features that you need. When your skin is exposed to the light, your body produces vitamin D; something that is needed for strong bones. It’s important to note that you only need to spend a short amount of time in the sun to make enough vitamin D!

It has also been shown that UV light therapy can help to reduce symptoms of psoriasis.

Protecting yourself from UV light

It’s important to remember that no matter where you are, you should be thinking about protecting yourself from UV light. There are many different things you can do to protect yourself without too much hassle.

Stay out of the sun when it’s at its strongest. When this isn’t possible, you should take extra measures through wearing sun cream, protective lenses and other clothing, such as wide brimmed hats.

Sunglasses and sun hats can help protect you from UV and the sun

Sunglasses

Sunglasses are hugely important for protecting your eyes from the possible damage caused by UV light. Xperio Polarised technology offer great protection against UV light and eliminate blinding glare.

Photochromic technology

For times when you’re in and out throughout the day consider lenses like Transitions, which automatically adapt to light so you don’t have to. The light intelligent technology protects your eyes by blocking 100% of UVA and UVB light rays.

Transitions Signature lenses have fast responsive technology. This means only the optimal amount of light reaches your eye, no matter where you are, giving you a comfortable visual experience throughout the day.

Lens enhancements

You can also enhance your lenses with Crizal to reduce your exposure to harmful UV light providing you with optimal UV protection.(1)

So, next time you put sun cream on, don’t forget to protect your eyes too!

 

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(1)E-SPF=10 for Crizal UV lenses with Essilor Orma 1.5.