Measures to protect the eyes from the sun, ophthalmologists recommend in view of the summer season since our country presents a lot of sunshine. Beware of the sun
Yes, the sun is a source of light, but over time it causes significant damage to the eyes and serious damage to vision. For this reason we all need to protect ourselves our eyes from ultraviolet solar radiation throughout the year, but especially in the summer months.
Solar radiation is the cause of a number of eye diseases, which appear after years of exposure to the sun, as well as the aging of our eyes.
Harmful rays and eye diseases
According to scientists, the radiations that cause damage to the eyes are:
• Ultraviolet rays, mainly responsible for pathologies of the outer layers of the eye and the crystalline lens (eg cataract).
• High energy rays in the visible spectrum responsible for retinal pathologies (macular degeneration).
It is worth noting that the second category is not often talked about, but it is also the most dangerous for our eyes, since the damage that can be caused is irreversible and the usual absorbent sunglasses we wear do not protect us sufficiently.
It is important not to forget that the sun acts cumulatively and solar radiation is responsible for a number of eye diseases that appear after years of exposure to the sun.
Specifically, the harmful rays of the sun over time cause:
• Aging of the delicate thin skin of the eyelids, which comes faster than the rest of the skin.
• Occurrence of tumors on the eyelids, such as epitheliomas and melanomas which require timely surgical removal.
• Flap appearance, a degeneration of the conjunctiva in which a fibrovascular 'tissue' forms over the cornea.
• Carcinoma of the conjunctiva, (rare) which appears to have UV rays as a risk factor
• Radiation keratoconjunctivitis, similar to that from oxygen bonding, in which the patient has pain, strong photophobia and difficulty opening his eyes.
• Decreased clarity of the crystalline lens of the eye, causing cataracts.
• Appearance of senile cataract.
• Damage to the retina, the fundus of the eye.
• Macular degeneration.
The first measure of protection and the easiest to use for everyone is the use of sunglasses. Lenses need to be able to absorb the sun's harmful rays without altering visual perception and colors.
For this reason, the glasses you will buy need to meet the following conditions:
• To write "100% UV Protection", which means that they protect the eyes from radiations that are not within the safe wavelength limits (that is, they provide protection from UVA rays by at least 99% and from UVB by 95%).
• The lens should meet your needs and the use of the glasses. For example, the "degraded" lenses, i.e. those with graduated darkness, are ideal if you drive very often, as the dark upper part excludes radiation, while the lighter colored lower part allows you to see inside the car.
Lenses with an outer "mirror" coating reflect much of the radiation, but greatly reduce brightness, and are also more vulnerable to scratches. Ask for polarized lenses to limit the "glare" from the sun in the afternoon hours, if you work e.g. with beach sports, while if you want to combine sunglasses with eyeglasses, photochromic lenses are the most popular solution. Also the lenses that extend to the middle of the eye and ear block out even more light and are ideal for more 'darkening'.
• The color of the lenses. Color does not affect protection from harmful radiation, however color variations create different types of "perception" of the brightness and hues you see through them. So, choose:
– Gray lenses for reduced light intensity, without great distortion of colors and contrast.
– Brown lenses for vision with greater contrasts, as they absorb enough "blue light" and are suitable for increased brightness.
– Yellowish lenses to make it easier to distinguish details. These lenses enhance contrast, but are not suitable for driving in a lot of sunlight. Beware of the sun
Finally, sunglasses should not exceed two years of use. This has to do both with their natural wear and tear, as well as with the changes the lens undergoes.
* Ioannis Mallias MD, Phd, Ophthalmologist Surgeon, Doctor of the Medical School of Athens, explains to Ygeiaonline.gr why we should wear sunglasses during the summer.
Ioannis A. Mallias MD, Phd
Doctor of the Medical School of Athens Beware of the sun
Director of Ophthalmology Department Mediterraneo Hospital