Ultraviolet light from the sun will burn you skin, it will also damage your eyes. A sunburn on the cornea, the surface of the eye is called, “photokeratitis”. The incidence of photokeratitis increases when in the snow or on the water because of increased reflections. Most of us know the pain of a sunburn on our skin, a sunburn on the eye hurts much worse and causes the vision to be blurry until it heals.
Other eye tissues are permanently damaged by ultraviolet(UV) light. The conjunctiva, the white of the eye can develop benign bumps called pinguecula. Pinguecula are not dangerous, but they can become inflamed and red. They typically have a yellowish appearance. Cataracts, (a clouding of the lens in the eye) worsens with UV light exposure. The retina is also susceptible to UV damage. Damaged retinal tissue, especially the macula can lead to severely reduced vision.
Sunscreen protects your skin from overexposure to the UV rays, sunglasses protect the structures of your eyes and the skin tissues around them. Read how to select quality sunglasses in an earlier blog.
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