UV radiation and the Eye
Ultra Violet (UV) Eye Damage
As we approach the seasons where sunlight is more abundant, we need to be aware that harmful radiation from the sun not only affect skin health but also long term eye health.
Macular Degeneration (AMD)
Macular degeneration is a group of diseases characterised by a loss of central vision. The primary causes of macular degeneration are exposure to UV and the blue wavelengths radiation. In the UK, retinal diseases are the leading cause of blindness and macular degeneration is the leading retinal disease. The Eye Disease Prevalence Research Group in the USA estimates that by the year 2020, approximately three million individuals will have significant symptoms associated with age-related macular degeneration. Although current evidence is slim, UV and blue light is suspected of causing or triggering irreversible damage and most UV exposure occurs before the age of 10 years.
A lens in our eye constantly adjusts its thickness, allowing us to focus and see clearly. As we become more mature, the lens becomes more grey and opacifies slowly and less clear. A cataract is opacity of the lens and is the leading cause of blindness worldwide. By 80 years of age, over half of all people have cataracts. Exposure to ultraviolet light has long been associated with the development of cataracts
A pterygium is a fleshy growth usually found on the conjunctiva (white of the eye) at the inner corner of the eye. Ultraviolet light exposure (both UVA and UVB) appears to be the most significant factor in the development of pterygia. This may explain why the incidence is vastly greater in populations near the equator and in persons who spend a great deal of time outdoors.