Looking at the sun for longer periods of time will certainly lead to permanent vision defects. Experts state that it takes an average of 100 seconds of staring at the sun to cause severe, irreversible damage. Here are some interesting facts surrounding the link between sunlight and vision problems:
YOUR EYES ARE THE MOST NAKED PART OF YOUR BODY
Your bare skin can feel physical touch and energy from rays of light, but when it gets damaged, it can repair itself. A cut or a sunburn might take a week or two to heal, but eventually it goes away. Your eyes have sensitive cells that are more at risk from vulnerability to sunlight than your skin cells. These light-sensitive cells and exposed muscle (your iris) and veins can suffer from from the sun after a few seconds of direct light.
UV RAYS ARE YOUR EYE’S NUMBER ONE ENEMY
UV rays excite the light-sensitive cells in your eyes and they work in overload. The chemicals these cells produce can bleed into other parts of your eyes and cause damage that takes months to heal. Staring at the sun for even a few seconds causes a sunburn in your eyes like prolonged exposure does to your skin. The clear, outer membrane can tear and blister, leading to an itchy burning pain like that of a sunburn. The sensation usually only lasts a day or two, but can last longer if the damage is worse.
CATARACTS AND BLINDNESS
Sunlight can build cataracts or lead to blindness. Cataracts are blurry spots in your field of vision that can make it hard to perform daily tasks, such as driving, reading, and writing. If the sun damage reaches the rods and cones of your eyes, your are likely to become permanently blind.
PREVENTING SUN DAMAGE TO YOUR EYES
The obvious answer to avoiding sun damage to your eyes is to avoid looking at the sun. However, as you move around throughout the day, you might accidentally catch a glimpse of direct sunlight. It’s wise to own a pair of UV blocking sunglasses, especially while driving down sunny roads where closing or hiding your eyes isn’t an option. Also, don’t stare directly at a solar eclipse as the re-emerging light has an overwhelming effect on anyone looking directly at it.
Are you concerned that your eyes are damaged from sunlight? Call Silverstein Eye Centers today to make an appointment for an eye exam.