Dr Chris Steele Explains How Sun Damage Can Lead to Cataracts
Did you know that UV rays can damage your eyes? Today, on ITV’s This Morning, our very own Dr Chris Steele discussed the importance of protecting your eyes from sun damage to avoid developing long-term problems.
Dr Chris stressed that your eyes are very delicate and sensitive, and need to be protected from UV rays just as much as your skin does. He explained that long-term exposure to UV rays can eventually cause conditions such as cataracts, while revealing that he himself has a cataract on his right eye.
What You Need to Know About Cataracts
Cataracts are cloudy patches that develop in the lens of your eye, which can cause blurred or misty vision. They are a common problem in older people, often developing with age for no obvious reason. However, there are a number of factors which are believed to increase your risk. Smoking, drinking excessively and poor diet may be contributing factors, along with lifelong exposure of your eyes to sunlight, as Dr Chris points out.
Cataracts can become worse over time and can seriously impair your vision. Many people need surgery to remove and replace the affected lens. To reduce your chances of having to deal with cataracts, it’s best to start practising good eye care as soon as you can.
Protecting Your Eyes from Sunlight
Dr Chris recommends wearing sunglasses whenever you’re outside in the sunlight. He advises that you wear them throughout the summer months even on days that aren’t very sunny, because UV rays can still penetrate clouds and cause damage to your eyes.
“When UV rays pass through the clouds, sometimes they can be more harmful because they are reflected off the sea, white sand and white buildings,” he said.
Dr Chris also explained that when shopping for sunglasses, you shouldn’t assume that darker lenses will offer you more protection. It isn’t the tint of the lenses that offers the defence, but a protective coating that is applied to the lenses. Sunglasses can be perfectly clear and still offer 100% UV protection.
When choosing your sunglasses, check to see if the arms of the glasses are marked with the ‘CE’ symbol. This symbol shows that the glasses conform to the European Community Standard, and will provide adequate protection from harmful UV light. Alternatively, there may be a sticker on the lenses which says that they offer protection from both UVA and UVB rays.
This summer, make sure you’re looking after your eyes in the sunlight just as you should be protecting your skin. Making use of sunglasses throughout the summer months could play a significant role in saving you from later developing cataracts or even suffering macular degeneration.