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How can we protect our eyes from the Sun?

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How can we protect our eyes from the sun? Just like wearing sun block to protect our skin, sunglasses protect our eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet rays (UV) from damaging our eyes.  The sun’s effects on the eyes include:

Cataracts – a clouding of the natural lens inside of the eye which causes blurred vision over time.  It is estimated that 20% of cataracts are caused by excessive UV exposure.

Macular degeneration – causes damage to the center of the retinal called the macula, causing blurred and distorted vision over time. The leading cause of blindness in individuals over 65 years of age.  

Solar Maculopathy – causes sudden, acute damage to the center of the retina called the macula.  This is a result of staring at the sun for a prolonged period of time. This can take 3-6 months to recover and often it is incomplete.   

Pterygium – a tissue that grows from the white part of the eye onto the clear part of the eye called the cornea.  This can alter the curvature of the cornea causing astigmatism.  

When purchasing sunglasses, look for the ones that block 100% UVA and UVB radiation, so your vision can stay sharp and healthy.  It is also a good idea to wear a hat.   If you have a prescription, your vision insurance often allows a certain amount of coverage toward sunglasses.  Come to our office today to check out our collection of eyewear.


Written by Dr. Michael Duong

Dr. Duong received his bachelor’s degree in biology with a minor in chemistry at San Jose State University. He then attended Pennsylvania College of Optometry and received his Doctor of Optometry in 2009.
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