Discussing UV and Solar Blue Light Protection with your Eye Doctor

Discussing UV and Solar Blue Light Protection with your Eye Doctor

Most people are aware that it is important to protect their eyes from the harmful effects of the sun and the UV light that it produces, but far fewer realize that the sun also emits blue light. In fact, the sun is our biggest source of natural blue light – the brightest color on the visible light spectrum, it is the blue light that causes the sky to appear blue on sunny days.


Both UV and blue light have the potential to damage our eyes, and with more of us spending time on digital devices than ever before, we are also at risk of overexposure thanks to the artificial blue light that is emitted by our digital device screens. Protecting your eyes from damage should be a priority, and all patients are recommended to make an appointment to discuss UV and blue light protection with your eye doctor to help preserve the health and condition of your eyes. In the meantime, here’s some crucial information about UV and blue light that you should be aware of.


UV Light and How it Can Affect Your Eyes


UV or ultraviolet light contains the highest level of energy of any light in the spectrum. It’s too high energy for us to see, but it is all around us, even on cloudy days. There are three types of UV light, but only two that can reach us here on earth. These are UVA and UVB. UVC light gets absorbed by the atmosphere. Both UVA and UVB have slightly different wavelengths, but each can cause damage to our eyes and vision.

Not protecting our eyes from UV light can cause:


  • The skin around the eyes to age, become dry and develop wrinkles

  • Skin cancer develop on the skin around the eyes

  • Age-related macular degeneration, a condition that occurs when the cells of the middle part of the retina within the eye start to degenerate as part of the aging process

  • Growth on the conjunctiva, known as pinguecula and pterygium

  • Painful inflammation of the cornea

  • Cancer of the iris

  • Cataracts a condition characterized by the clouding of the natural lens of the eye

  • Corneal sunburn, also known as photokeratitis


The longer your eyes are exposed to the sun, the more likely you are to experience problems and the more severe they are likely to be.


Protecting Your Eyes from UV Damage


Fortunately, sunglasses are the simplest and most effective way of protecting our eyes from the harmful effects caused by UV exposure – provided we choose lenses that are tested and proven to block 100% of UVA and UVB rays. Any quality sunglasses should have a label or sticker that states their effectiveness. Make sure you choose a variety that fit close to your face to prevent UV rays from filtering in around the edges of the frames. Ideally, you should wear your sunglasses each time you go outside, including on overcast days.


Blue Light and How it Can Affect Your Eyes


Blue light isn’t as high energy as UV light, but it can be damaging in its own way. We need some blue light to function each day, as it helps to regulate our sleep-wake cycle, make us more alert, improve our cognitive function and even help boost our mood. However, too much blue light has been proven to have a negative effect. Our digital devices produce artificial blue light and spending too much time using them could mean that we are exposed to more blue light than we need.

This can result in issues such as:


  • Eye fatigue

  • Computer vision syndrome/digital eye strain

  • Increased risk of macular degeneration

  • Increased risk of cataracts

  • Sleep problems, as too much blue light, can block melatonin, preventing you from. feeling tired and sleeping well


Unsurprisingly, these can have a significant impact on our day-to-day lives.


Protecting Your Eyes from Overexposure to Blue Light


Recognizing that too much blue light can be problematic, eye experts have created a way to protect our eyes from overexposure. These are available in the form of blue light blocking lenses that can be placed into glasses frames. They have inbuilt filters that stop the blue light from reaching your eyes and causing damage, and these can be incorporated into prescription lenses, meaning you can both see clearly and protect your eyes at the same time. Exactly how much protection your eyes will receive will depend on the blue light blocking lenses you choose, and your eye doctor will help you to find a variety that is most effective for you.


Discuss UV and Solar Blue Light Protection with our eye care team today! Contact University Optometric Center in Irvine, CA at (949) 216-8900.


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