UV’s Role in Eye Disease

With spring already here in Calgary and summer just around the corner, we thought it would be a good idea to explain UV’s role in eye disease.

Eye doctors have already warned people about the harmful effects of UV or ultraviolet light radiation to the eyes. Too much UV exposure can result in age-related macular degeneration, cataract development, snow-blindness and even pinguecula or pterygium.

However, at present, these eye problems carry on escalating even if a lot of spectacles, contact lenses, and intraocular lens have UV protection coatings in them. This article will tackle at the recent understanding about UV exposure and a few of the most common and also rare conditions that optometrists face when it comes to damages from UV light.

Three Forms of Ultraviolet Light

UVA has a wavelength of 315nm to 380nm and can pierce through the skin. This is sometimes linked with tanning but is also associated with skin aging.

UVB has a much as smaller wavelength compared to UVA, 280nm to 215nm. UVB doesn’t pierce through the skin as intensely as UVA since it is mostly absorbed by the epidermis. So, it can be a more harmful type of UV light that can lead to sunburn or erythema, skin blisters, and possible different skin cancers.

UVC has a wavelength of 100nm to 280nm and is considered to be the most damaging to the skin, which ends up in skin cancer. Luckily, much of UVC is absorbed in the ozone layer and doesn’t enter the surface of the earth.

The light that reaches the earth mainly consists of roughly 95% UVA light and 5% UVB/UVC.

UVB and most particularly UVC are absorbed by the molecules of the DNA, so that’s why many experts think that these are the ones with the extreme effect on changing skin tissue and are linked with various skin cancers.

UVC is also the type that stages a vital role in cataract genesis and also macular degeneration. UVC can, in fact, create free radicals that affect the DNA. UVC has the capability to disturb structures like collagen, which are dominant in the conjunctiva and cornea and also glycans like hyaluronic acid

How to Protect Your Eyes from UV Light

It is advisable to wear appropriate eye protection and headgear to block UV rays. To effectively protect your eyes, sunglasses must:

  • Suppress 99 to 100% of both UV-A and UV-B radiation
  • Block 75 to 90% of visible light
  • Be perfectly coordinated in colour and free of distortion and imperfection
  • Use grey lenses for proper colour recognition

We hope you’ve learnt about UV’s role in eye disease. If you need an eye exam in Calgary, Dr. Alex G. Wilson & Associates are here to help.

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