In the hot summer months, chances are that you will spend more time in the sun, whether driving, playing sports or just enjoying a beautiful day outdoors. At the same time, your eyes will be exposed to direct sunlight, sun glare, as well as damaging solar rays such as UV (ultraviolet) and HEV (high-energy visible) radiation which are major risk factors. This is why taking proper care of one’s eyes and remaining aware of the hazards that can affect good vision are vital, especially during the year’s sunniest season.
GETTING TO GRIPS WITH RADIATION
The sun emits different types of electromagnetic radiation, most of which are visible (HEV) light, UV rays, and infrared rays. While UV rays make up only a very small portion of the sun’s rays, they are the main cause of the sun’s damaging effects on the eyes. UV rays are an overload of energy that travels through an empty space creating an imbalance in the chemical structure of the body’s molecules, causing cell damage and deformities. As UV rays travel with sunlight, the rays can pierce through the thin layer of skin on the eyelids when the eyes are closed or partially closed, making it possible for the rays to reach the eye. The transparent lens and cornea help to protect the eyes by filtering the UV rays, but if direct light continuously reaches the eyes over long periods of time, this can lead to serious eye problems including: