Sun and eye health
When outside, it is important to protect your eyes from UV rays (sunlight). These can damage the eyes and cause vision loss.
How do UV rays affect the eyes?
Short term damage to the eyes can lead to:
- mild irritation
- sunburn of the cornea
- excessive blinking
- difficulty looking at strong light.
If exposure is repeated and over long periods of time, it can lead to permanent damage to the eyes. This can include:
- macular degeneration
- skin cancer around the eyes and eyelids
- damage to the cornea and conjunctiva.
How to protect your eyes from the sun?
SunSmart recommends protecting the eyes from UV rays at all times when outside during daylight hours.
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses that meet Australian Standards*. Sunglasses should also provide adequate coverage around the eyes. Don't forget that darkness does not necessarily provide UV protection.
- If your eyes become irritated after spending time in the sun, visit an optometrist for advice.
- If you notice a change in your vision, this could be a sign of something serious, visit an optometrist for an eye test without delay.
- Have regular eye tests. They can help detect eye problems early, before sight is lost.
This is even more important if you repeatedly spend long hours outdoors during daytime. For example outdoors workers, such as farmers or construction workers, are encouraged to wear suitable eye protection.
* Australian Standards AS/NZS1067:2003. Sunglasses and fashion spectacles: lens category 2, 3 or 4; Eye Protection (EPF) 9 or 10.