Looking after your eyes

2015-09-09 06:00

WITH the approach of summer more time is being spent outside in the warmth of the sun and it is essential to remember to protect your eyes when outdoors.

Most of us are aware of the harm UV rays can do to the skin, but many may not realise how harmful UV can be to the eyes.

There are three types of UV radiation - UV-C is absorbed by the ozone layer and does not present any threat, UV-A and UV-B radiation can have adverse long- and short-term effects on the eyes and vision.

If your eyes are exposed to excessive amounts of UV rays over a short period of a time, you can experience photokeratitis, which is like and#034;sunburn on the eyeand#034;.

This can cause symptoms such as light sensitivity, a gritty or sandy feeling in the eyes, tearing of the eyes and red eyes.

Anyone working in the sun or spending long hours in the sun, like farmers, are exposed to high amounts of UV over long periods­ of time. UV exposure over the long- term can cause various eye diseases such as cataracts, pterygium (growth on the outside of the eye), and damage to the macula.

Certain cancers can also be caused by prolonged exposure to UV around the eyes.

Protecting your eyes

• Wear UV-blocking sunglasses and broad-brimmed hats when outside.

• Specific UV-blocking coatings can be added onto your spectacles to cut down and block UV.

• Never look directly at the sun

• Donand#039;t forget children are exposed to high amounts of UV as well when playing outside. Always ensure they are wearing a hat, and where possible, sunglasses.

• Do not be fooled by clouds, the sunand#039;s rays can pass through thin clouds and still cause damage.

As summer approaches make sure your eyes are protected.

- Snyman Optometrists

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