Eye Problems Caused by the Sun
- The sun's ultra-violet, or UV, rays can cause damage to your body in excessive quantities. The eyes are susceptible to damage, as the skin surrounding them is especially thin. Eye problems that may be caused by the sun include cataract, skin cancer of the eyelids and macular degeneration.
- Cataracts occur when your eye lenses gets cloudy, which results in blurred vision. According to Mayo Clinic, approximately 70 percent of people over the age of 75 in the United States have cataracts. Although cataracts are more likely to develop as you age, damage from the sun can increase your chances, or even speed up the process. If you do not seek prompt medical treatment, cataracts cause chronic headaches, pain and inflammation of your eye.
Eyelid Skin Cancer
- According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, roughly 10 percent of all types of skin cancers occur on your eyelids. Also, the most common spot is the lower part of your lid, due to sun exposure. There are three types of skin cancers that occur on your eyelids: melanomas, basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas. Melanomas only occur in about two percent of cases, according to the Skin Care Foundation, but are also the most deadly. Basal cell carcinomas are the most common, states the Foundation, occurring in roughly 90 percent of cases. The remaining cases of eyelid skin cancers are squamous cell carcinomas. Although these carcinomas are not usually life-threatening, they may cause blindness or tissue damage, and may spread to the back of your eye.
- Excessive sun exposure may lead to macular degeneration, an eye disease that causes blurred vision, or even blindness. Like cataracts, macular degeneration is most common in older adults over the age of 50, according to Mayo Clinic. Also, Mayo Clinic states that the link between sun exposure and macular degeneration is controversial; still, many people with the disease have had increased UV ray exposure during their lifetime.
- Always wear sunglasses outdoors, even if it is not sunny, as sunrays can penetrate through the clouds. You do not have to spend a fortune on decent sunglasses; just be sure that the pair you choose offers 99-100 percent protection against both UV-A and UV-B rays. Wide frames are the best choice as they cover your eyes as well as the surrounding areas. Wearing a hat also helps shield the sun from your eyes. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends that you apply an eye cream that contains an SPF of 15 or higher.