It’s hard to imagine something going wrong or issues arising with your vision. Just like we put sunscreen on to protect our skin from skin cancer and we eat our vegetables to keep our bodies healthy, we have to protect our eyes from harmful UV rays with sunglasses. At Vision Care Centre in Langley, we care about the health of your eyes and protecting them from age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, and eye cancer.
What is Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)?
AMD is an eye condition that is the leading cause of blindness in adults over 60. The macula is a small spot located near the center of the retina, toward the back of the eye. This part of the eye helps you see a sharp image that is straight ahead and is made up of light-sensing cells. This condition doesn’t always progress rapidly, but beginning symptoms will show as:
- Blurred area in your vision that grows larger
- Distorted vision
- Objects may not appear as bright as they once were
What Are Cataracts?
Cataracts are a clouding of the eye’s lens. Similar to AMD, cataracts can develop slowly, and symptoms tend to start with the vision becoming blurry or light will seem too bright or glaring.
Your eye is mostly made of water and protein. The protein keeps the eye’s lens clear and allows light to pass through it. Cataracts begin to form when the protein clumps together, creating a small cloud in your vision. As time goes on, the cataract will become larger, vision loss will worsen, and it could lead to blindness.
Eye Cancer or Ocular Melanoma
There are cells in your eye that produce melanin, which is what gives your eyes their color. Ocular melanoma occurs when errors within melanin-producing cells develop. Healthy cells that become mutated due to these errors will grow and begin to multiply. These mutated cells collect in a part of your eye that isn’t visible from the surface, and they eventually form an eye melanoma.
Eye melanoma doesn’t commonly show symptoms, but when they occur, signs could include:
- A dark spot on the iris
- Flashing lights
- Peripheral vision begins to fade
The sun is constantly emitting harmful ultraviolet, or UV rays. People may focus more on it’s affects on our skin, but these rays are harmful to our eyes as well. It is important to know that both long- and short-term exposure can have an impact on the health of our eyes. The conditions explained above can all be caused by exposure to UV rays.
Everyone has a risk of developing these issues if you spend time outside without sunglasses. Keep in mind that there are other ways to be exposed to UV rays, including tanning beds, certain medications, welding equipment, or electronic circuit boards. Children, especially, should be protected from the sun when outside by wearing sunglasses that protect the entire eye.
Protecting your eyes from the sun starts with keeping in mind what direction UV rays can come from. UV rays don’t just come down from above, but they are also reflected from water, snow, sand, and many other bright surfaces. Snow can reflect up to 80 percent of UV rays. Sunglasses or prescription sunglasses that are the most efficient in eye care should:
- Block 99 percent both both UV-A and UV-B radiation
- Block 75 to 90 percent of visible light
- Be free of distortions and imperfections
- Be large enough to cover the eye and prevent light from entering – wrap around sunglasses are best
- Have gray or dark lenses
For the best eye care and protection from the sun, wear sunglasses when you are outside or are working with certain equipment. Vision Care Centre has prescription sunglasses available to provide protection as well as clear vision.
With a regular visit to the eye doctor for eye care, you and your doctor can determine if there is an increased risk for certain eye conditions. At Vision Care Centre, we will work together to find prescription sunglasses that will protect your eyes. Your eyes should be a focus as well as your skin when it comes to being protected from the sun’s rays. Schedule an appointment with Vision Care Centre to find prescription sunglasses that are right for you and your eyes.