The sun releases energy, called radiation, in various forms: in the sunlight you see, the heat you feel, and the invisible ultraviolet (UV) rays that cause you to get sunburned. UV rays from the sun can also damage your eyes and hurt your vision.
Dangers of UV Rays
There are two types of UV radiation: UVA rays and UVB rays. UVB rays are more likely to cause sunburn, but UVA rays penetrate deeper. Exposure to either can damage your eyes. Long-term exposure to UV rays can result in eye problems that may lead to vision loss from conditions like cataracts or macular degeneration. Other dangers include skin cancer (around the eyelids) and corneal sunburn. Long hours at the beach or ski slope without proper eye protection can cause corneal sunburn, which can be very painful and may cause temporary vision loss.
Exposure Risk Factors
Everyone is at risk for eye damage from UV radiation. The risk of sun-related eye problems, however, is higher for people who:
Proper Eye Protection
Adequately protecting your eyes from the sun, and other elements like wind or water, is crucial to maintaining your vision and eye health.