Sunlight can not only be harsh on your skin but also to your eyes. Blinking the eyes when sunlight hits is a natural phenomenon through which your eyes try to protect themselves from the sun rays. Some people feel extra pressure on their eyes when they go out which is a clear sign that your eyes are not in a condition to bear this harsh sunlight. The reason being UV rays that are harmful especially when if you expose yourself to sunlight for longer time periods. In this article, we will talk about common problems or diseases that can be caused if you are overexposed to sunlight.
One of the common issues that people face due to sunlight is light sensitivity. Your eyes blink as soon as sunlight hits you is a prominent sign of light sensitivity. Over time, this can cause serious issues and trigger other chronic eye diseases.
Eye Diseases Caused Due To Sun Exposure
Here are eye problems that you might have to suffer from if you overexpose your eyes to direct sunlight.
The major problem caused by exposure to strong sunlight or UV rays is photokeratitis. Photokeratitis is also called snow blindness. In this problem, the cornea becomes inflamed and it hinders your vision and makes it blurry. The common signs of photokeratitis are:
- blurred vision
- redness of the eyes
- mild eye pain
- sensitivity to light
This problem can also occur if you expose your eyes to UV rays continuously for a day. In most cases, this is a temporary condition but treatment is required to get rid of this problem. Cold compresses can also be used to relieve discomfort caused by photokeratitis.
According to Dr. Hemant Todkar, Senior Ophthalmologist at Ruby Hall Clinic Pune, One may develop cataract due to continuous exposure to sunlight for years. When you work continuously in the sun without any protection, then you are at risk of cataract. Although the problem of cataract arises due to many reasons, exposing your naked eyes to sun is a prominent reason. Here are some tips to avoid cataract:
- Consume plenty of green leafy vegetables
- Have fruits that are rich in vitamin C and antioxidants
- Wear sunglasses when you are out in direct sunlight
Cataract is treatable and the most popular way to treat cataract is telescopic method.
Exposure to strong sunlight and UV rays for a long time can make you a victim of macular degeneration. In this problem there is severe damage to the retinal tissue which is situated around the retina. The area near the retina is called the macula and anything that affects it makes your eyesight weak. In the long run, this could cause spotting on the retina. This is macular degeneration.
Pterygium or Surfer's Eye is a serious eye disease, a pinguecula or abnormal tissue growth on the conjunctiva is produced on the cornea. It continues to grow from the white part of the eye to the cornea. This leads to scarring on the cornea as well as obstructed vision. If this tissue growth continues, you may need a surgery to get it treated. If pterygium is diagnosed at the initial level, it can be controlled with medicines but if untreated for long, surgery is the last option.
Due to continuous exposure to strong sunlight and UV rays, you may have the problem of pinguecula. This disease causes serious damage to your eyes. In this problem, a white or yellowish layer starts to form inside the conjunctiva which is called gelatinous layer. This layer gradually starts covering the white part of your eye. People living in dry and sandy areas with high sunlight are most prone to this problem. Pinguecula gives signs & symptoms including redness, watery eyes and mild eye pain.
These are some of the eye problems that are caused due to sunlight. UV rays are extremely damaging and if you don’t want to compromise your vision, make sure to protect your eyes. Wear sunglasses when you are out in harsh sunlight. Also, consume foods that are rich in Vitamin A as it helps boost eye health. If you encounter any issue, consult an ophthalmologist immediately.
Images credits- Freepik