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EYE RISKS OF SUN EXPOSURE

The good weather is associated with high temperatures and an increase in the intensity of UV radiation. With spring starting on March 20th, the dangers of excessive exposure of our eyes to the sun's rays cannot be over-remembered. 

The intensity of UV rays increases during the spring and summer months. This type of radiation is most responsible for the appearance of sunburn and has greater concentration in the middle of the day and early morning.

It is important to understand that UV radiation, in moderate doses, is fundamental for our body because it allows and stimulates the production of vitamin D. This vitamin is important for our skin, cardiovascular system, absorption of calcium and phosphorus in the intestine, as well as other essential functions for our body. As in almost everything, balance is essential. If exposure to radiation is excessive, it can cause severe burns and eye level injuries, affecting various structures in our eyes, such as the corneas, eyelids and retinas.

The fact that the sun's rays are more concentrated during the hottest months should not be a reason for not being careful all year round. Prolonged exposure to UV radiation causes various negative effects, such as cataracts, which are the result of excessive exposure for several years.

Cataracts, consist of opacification of the lens, which is reflected in a progressive loss of vision. Crystalline is the ocular structure responsible for focusing the images. As its name suggests, it is a transparent structure, by losing that transparency our ability to see decreases. Cataracts are not a contagious disease and can evolve at different rates depending on each case. Their causes, apart from repeated and exaggerated exposure to UV rays, can be several. Age is one of the most common, but can also be a consequence of other pathologies, such as diabetes. Alcohol, smoking and poorly balanced diets are also risk factors.

Another condition associated with sunburners is macular degeneration. This is a degenerative disease of the central area of the retina that leads to an irreversible decrease in central vision, with no effect on peripheral vision. It is the main cause of blindness in Western countries and is a pathology that arises naturally through aging. Although the causes of this disease are not well known, factors that may contribute to its appearance are recognised. Among these risk agents are vitamin and trace element deficiencies and chronic exposure to intense light and UV radiation.

It is normal to manifest in only one eye at an early stage, causing the other eye to compensate for the progressive loss of vision, this early form of the disease prevents diagnosis in early stages of the pathology. 

In addition to the two consequences pointed out, the excess of sunlight is associated with issues such as eyelid cancer and corneal burns, so it is never too much to remember the care we should take with our eyes. There are many risks, but they can be avoided.

Of course, there are groups more likely to develop these kinds of problems. Children, the elderly, chronically ill and professionals who are forced to spend a lot of time abroad because of their professional activity, are part of the population most prone to this type of health problems and should be given special attention and care. This does not mean that those who are not in risk groups should not take precautions to avoid pathologies associated with excessive UV rays. Leaving home with your sunglasses is a simple but effective gesture of prevention. Of course, we should make sure that your glasses have proper UV filters, at risk of further increasing the dangers to our eye health.

Protect yourself all year round and regularly monitor the health of your vision with a professional.

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