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Sunlight and Your Eyes

21
Apr
2017

We often take our eyes for granted. They are an essential part of our overall health and one of the most important out of all of our senses. We are often told to avoid sunlight to protect our eyesight, but why should we listen to this advice?

Sunlight and myopia:
Myopia is the official name given to short-sightedness. In short, myopia is caused when the eye is too long and light focuses in front of the retina rather than on the retina itself. This abnormality results in blurring and long distance vision. Can natural sunlight reduce the risk of myopia? Science says so.

A positive link between sunlight and UV (ultraviolet) rays has been discovered that lowers the chances of short-sightedness in children. Studies by scientists at the University of Cambridge found that for each hour spent outdoors per week, the risk of myopia was reduced on average by 2%.

The study suggests that the sun’s ultraviolet light stimulates the release of dopamine which results in a normal growth of the eyes compared to the ‘elongated’ shape that causes myopia. Children who spend a lot more time indoors do not produce the same levels of dopamine and are at a higher risk of developing myopia.

You should never look directly into the sun, it is extremely dangerous and can be damaging to your retina.

Why sunglasses are important:
Sunglasses are vital to protecting your eyes from UV rays, but how do they work? Lenses with UV coating are infused with organic dyes and metallic oxide pigments, which absorb and reflect harmful light. Higher grade sunglasses incorporate a polarising film on their lenses which eliminates glare.

Most sunglasses offer UVB (responsible for sunburn) and UVA (which cause skin cancer and premature ageing) protection, but higher quality ones do a better job of filtering out harmful rays. The most important thing is to choose sunglasses that offer 100% UVA and UVB protection, just as you would with sunscreen. Clear lens sunglasses can still have a UV coating for protection. Did you know that these rays can still damage your eyesight in the shade? They reflect rays from sunnier areas into your field of vision.

Not only do sunglasses protect your eyes and stop you from squinting, they can improve the overall look of your eyes too. UV light can be responsible for ageing your eyes by creating unsightly yellowish coloration to the whites of your eyes which diminishes their nice bright white youthful look.

Accumulation of UV light in your eyes can also cause cataracts and sunlight exposure is also a contributing factor to macular degeneration.


Spending hours in the sun in the hope to increase your dopamine levels and decrease your chances of myopia may seem like a good idea, but research shows that fifteen minutes of sun exposure is all that’s needed to normalise the bodies Vitamin D levels. Skin cancer is still a huge concern and sun protection should always be worn when outside.

Do you suffer from myopia, a.k.a short-sightedness? Book a free consultation for short-sight treatment with us today: 0207 307 8250.

Sources:

How It Works
Vitamin D Council
Report

By: David

If you are interested in vision correction at Focus Clinic please call us on 0207 307 8250 and book a free consultation.

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Surgeon David Allamby FRCS(Ed), FRCOphth
 David Allamby