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Svjetlost is the leading ophthalmology Clinic in the Southeastern Europe, offering complete ophthalmic services.

Do you know what UV rays do to your eyes and how to properly protect yourself?

Do you know what UV rays do to your eyes and how to properly protect yourself?
Sun rays can seriously damage the eyes and the surrounding eyelid skin and cause loss of visual acuity, cataract development, macular degeneration, and eyelid cancer.
It’s said that the eyes are the mirror of the soul and the most important sense. 
It’s said that love’s tongue is in the eyes (Phineas Fletcher) .. :-) 
 
Simple daily protection and a few tips will help you save your eyes and sensitive skin around them. Over time, sun rays can seriously damage the eyes and the surrounding eyelid skin and cause loss of visual acuity, cataract development, macular degeneration, and eyelid cancer.

Ultraviolet A (UVA) and Ultraviolet B (UVB) rays of sunlight are strong, invisible rays with a wavelength shorter than visible light. They relate to cataract, eyelid tumours and have an important role in the formation of macular degeneration. In addition, they are responsible for premature wrinkle formation, dehydration and ageing of the skin around the eyes, redness and burns. 

If your eyes are exposed to excessive amounts of UV radiation in a short period of time, photokeratitis may develop on the surface of the eye. It manifests with pain, redness of the eye, feeling of a foreign body, hypersensitivity to light and a lot of tearing. Fortunately, it lasts for a few days and usually does not cause permanent vision damage.

Long-term exposure to UV radiation and light of shorter wavelengths may be more serious. Scientific studies and research have shown that exposure to small amounts of UV radiation over a period of several years increases the likelihood of cataract. Cataract is the most common cause of blindness that can be treated. It is a progressive blur of a natural lens that in at least 10% of cases is associated with UV rays, especially UVB. 
 
We should mention macular degeneration. It’s often called old or senile degeneration of yellow spot and is generated by cumulative UV damage of the retina. The macula is the area of the sharpest vision and patients with macular degeneration often say that they cannot see the "centre" of a picture and that it’s blurred, dim or totally missing. This is one of the main causes of vision loss in people over the age of 60.

Eyelids tumours are most common in the lower eyelid and occur in patients with a long history of sun exposure, and "the most infamous" melanomas rarely occur and are associated with intense exposure to sunlight and burns. When they are early diagnosed and treated, these cancers respond well to therapy. Warning signs are bloody lumps, new pigmented lesions of unclear edges, long lasting capillary inflammation and persistent redness of the eye that does not pass through an unexplained loss of eyelashes.
 
Best protection

Lenses, or glasses that absorb UV rays, are the best protection. It is advisable to wear sunglasses throughout the year, even during cloudy days, because also then UVA light can damage the eyes. Glasses on sunglasses come in many shades, from neutral grey, green or brown, which usually offers the nicest picture. Choose the colour that suits you best but be sure to check the labels before purchasing to make sure the lenses provide the appropriate UV protection. Do not forget about other safety measures especially during the summer, such as wearing a hat, using sunscreen and avoiding sunlight in the period from 10am to 4pm. When buying new sunglasses, they should: 

• can absorb and block 99 - 100% UVA and UVB light
• be large enough to protect the eye area and lids - as soon as the skin is covered, the better
• be durable and impact resistant 
• have polarized lenses that eliminate reflection, especially in driving, but also in snow or at sea. 

Enjoy the sun, the snow, the sea, the sport, the theatre ... in life and take care of your eyes !!! 

It’s said that love is born, lives grows and dies in (lovers’) eyes (William Shakespeare). :-) 

Dr. Maja Pauk Gulić, spec. ophthalmologist