Prolonged exposure to UV rays has been linked to certain eye conditions such as cataracts, macular degeneration and other conditions that can cause temporary vision loss.
New research suggests that continued exposure to UV rays may also increase your long-term risk of macular degeneration due to presence of sun’s high-energy visible (HEV) radiation (also called "blue light"). People with low blood plasma levels of vitamin C and other antioxidants especially appear at risk of retinal damage from blue light radiation.
A common myth among people is to refer to UV radiation as UV Light, but the fact is that these rays are invisible as we cannot see the UV rays.
Outdoor Risk Factors
Risks of eye damage from UV and blue light exposure can change daily and are dependent upon several factors:
- Geographic location. . UV levels are greater near the earth's equator and lessen farther away from it.
- Altitude. UV levels are more intense at higher elevations.
- Time of day. UV and blue light levels are greater typically from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. when the sun is higher in the sky.
- Setting. UV and blue light levels are stronger when highly reflective surfaces are present, such as snow or sand. UV exposure can almost double when UV rays are reflected from snow.
- Medications. Certain medications can increase your body's sensitivity to UV and blue light radiation.
To protect your eyes from the harmful UV and blue light rays always choose good quality sunglasses. If you wear spectacles make sure your lenses are UV protected.
Sunglasses that block 100 percent of UV rays and absorb most blue light rays should be your first choice. Your eye care practitioner can help you choose the best sunglass lenses. It is recommended to wear the sunglasses or spectacles with UV protected lens under cloudy weather conditions as UV exposure is quite high even in cloudy condition.