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Summer is a great time to bask in the sun and enjoy various outdoor activities. However, too much exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays may harm your eyes. Your optometrists from 20/20 Image Eye Centers discuss common UV-related eye conditions as we observe UV Safety Awareness Month this July.

How Can Too Much Sun Exposure Affect Your Eyes?

Photokeratitis

Also known as corneal sunburn, this condition is a result of over-exposure to UV rays. To prevent it, we recommend wearing sunglasses that provide 100% UV blockage whenever you go outside. You can also use an umbrella or wear a wide-brimmed hat for added protection.

Pterygium

Often referred to as “surfer’s eye,” this is a fleshy, wedge-shaped, non-cancerous growth that appears on the white part of your eyes. Although its cause is unknown, experts believe spending too much time in the sun is a risk factor. Your optometrist may prescribe medicated eye drops to halt the growth of the pterygium.

Dry Eye Syndrome

Basking in the sun for too long may hasten your tears’ evaporation rate, compromising the lubrication in your eyes. Your eyes may feel gritty, sore and heavy when this happens. Some of our dry eye treatments may include applying warm compresses or artificial tear solutions for your better visual comfort.

Macular Degeneration

In addition to increasing age, over-exposure to solar radiation is a major risk factor for macular degeneration. The harsh UV rays may hasten retinal and macular deterioration, making you more likely to develop this condition. Eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly and visiting your optometrist can help slow or even halt the progression of this condition.

Cataracts

Cataract formation is a common age-related eye problem, and UVB light overexposure can increase your risk of developing this disease. Without prompt management, cataracts can lead to blindness.

Get in touch with us today at (480) 535-1276 for Chandler or (480) 535-1098 for Fountain Hills to learn more about UV-related eye problems. You may also complete our form to request an appointment. We serve Chandler, Fountain Hills and other areas throughout AZ.