The sun gives us many good things. It provides light, and warmth for plants to grow. Those plants, directly or indirectly, feed every animal on earth, including us. We could not live without it. But if we get too much of a good thing the sun can hurt us.
You hear about the dangers of too much sun on our skin and the importance of using sunblock all the time. We don't hear as much about the danger to our eyes from the sun's UV rays.
Here are the 5 major eye conditions caused by excessive exposure to the UV rays coming from the sun and sun-glare according to All About Vision.
- Aging and wrinkles in the delicate skin around your eyes. The sun can directly damage the skin and squinting deepens wrinkles.
- Corneal sunburn, called photokeratitis or snow blindness, is a painful inflammation caused by unfiltered exposure to the UV rays of the sun. The cornea is the clear outer layer of the eye and it is susceptible to a kind of sunburn, just like your skin.
- Cataracts are normally associated with aging eyes but unprotected exposure to the sun's UV rays can speed up cataract development.
- Pinguecula and pterygia are two words that are tough to pronounce, but in simple terms, they are growths on the whites of your eyes (the sclera), caused by excessive sun exposure. They can be painful, and pterygia can spread onto the cornea and affect the quality of your vision.
- Macular degeneration means damage to the central area of the retina, the macula. Since the retina is responsible for clear vision this condition is very bad for the eyes. While there is not a known direct link between macular degeneration and UV exposure some studies suggest that the condition can be made worse by this exposure.
There are treatments aimed at alleviating the side effects of many of these conditions and some damage can be reversed or repaired. Still the old saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” applies here. Your eyes are central to most everything you do so it’s worth learning how to protect them from the sun and from sun glare.
Sunlight travels in a straight line, mostly, but it can also bounce off reflective surfaces, like mirrors, polished car panels, and water or ice. If you can see the sun or bright spots of reflected sunlight, that glare is coming for your eyes.
The top protection listed by the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) is shade. You get shade by putting a solid opaque barrier between your eyes and the source of the glare. This is why the standard visor in your car is a solid material. But you are driving and still need to see ahead so this works for overhead sun but not for reflected glare. Tinted or polarized materials in sunglasses and tinted visor extensions let you see ahead while cutting down on UV rays that reach your eyes and skin.
The sun visor in your car provides this solid barrier but it only covers one direction at a time. When you turn the car the position of the sun changes and sun glare can come from a new direction forcing you to move your car visor (the ‘duck-and-flip’). This is both annoying and distracts you from the road, which affects your safety.
The best protection while driving comes when you can have solid protection to the front and side combined with tinted and polarized protection where you need to see out. The ADDVISOR is a one-of-a-kind auto sun visor extender that enables you to move your car’s built-in visor to the side window and still have sun protection and high-quality polarized tinting from the front. When you’re a driver or a passenger you’re going to need Two-Direction Sun Protection to safeguard your eyes from the UV rays that come from sun glare.
Stay safe and enjoy the drive!