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4 Eye Conditions Linked To Sun Exposure

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With summertime comes long days by the pool, on the beach or on the trails.

So while you enjoy your time in the sun, make sure your eyes are protected from ultraviolet (UV) light, which can cause the following eye conditions.

Corneal Sunburn

Did you know that your eyes can become sunburned? When your cornea, the clear, outer layer of your eye, is exposed to unfiltered sunlight, it can cause painful inflammation of the corneal tissue.

A corneal sunburn is formally called photokeratitis, but is also known as snow blindness and welder’s flash.

Symptoms will typically last a few days and usually resolve on their own. Seek prompt medical attention if you experience vision loss or if the pain doesn’t subside after 2 days.

Premature Aging

Unfiltered exposure to UV light ages almost every part of your body, including your eyes.

Without UV protection, the delicate skin around your eyes is susceptible to developing sun spots and wrinkles.

Moreover, being outdoors without sunglasses makes you more likely to squint, leading to deeper, more pronounced wrinkles.

Eye Growths

Excessive sun exposure can cause growths to form on the whites of your eyes (the sclera).

These growths, known as pinguecula and pterygia, aren’t cancerous. But they can interfere with your vision. If a pterygium grows onto your cornea and blurs your vision, you may need to undergo surgery to remove it.

By wearing protective UV-blocking sunglasses, you can prevent these eye growths.


Cataracts are a clouding of the eye’s normally clear lens. They often result as a natural part of the aging process, but certain lifestyle factors can trigger their early formation.

Overexposure to UV light can cause oxidative damage within the lens, leading to a process called glycation. This gives rise to protein clumping together and forming cataracts.

How to Protect Your Eyes from the Sun

Before you head out to bask in the sun, keep your eyes safe by following these important tips.

  • Wear 100% UVA and UVB blocking sunglasses. Choose wraparound sunglasses for extra protection.
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat to shield the delicate skin around your eyes from direct sunlight.
  • Stay in the shade whenever possible.
  • Remember that UV light passes through clouds, so wear sunglasses even on overcast days.

How We Can Help

At Medical Arts Optical, we offer a wide range of stylish, protective, high-quality sunglasses to suit every activity and lifestyle.

Our friendly and professional staff will gladly answer all of your questions and help you select the perfect eyewear for you.

If you do forget to wear your sunglasses while outdoors and experience uncomfortable eye symptoms, don’t worry — we can help with that too. Our optometrist will assess your eye health and recommend a treatment plan to help soothe and heal your condition.

To schedule an eye exam or learn more about our services, call Medical Arts Optical in Hot Springs today!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How can you keep your eyes healthy as you age?

  • A:Aside from wearing sunglasses while outdoors, you can keep your eyes healthy as you age by making certain lifestyle adjustments. Include eye-healthy foods like antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids in your diet. Quit smoking, get adequate sleep and regular exercise. Most importantly, schedule regular visits to your eye doctor to monitor any changes in your eye health and catch eye diseases early.

Q: How often do you need an eye exam?

  • A:Adults should have a comprehensive eye exam every 1-2 years, or according to the recommendation of your optometrist. Adults over the age of 65 should have annual eye exams, as age-related ocular conditions begin to set in at this time.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses. Visit Medical Arts Optical for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.