Blog Hero

UV Rays & Your Eyes

Book Appointment

UV (ultraviolet) rays can have both short-term and long-term effects on your eyes, potentially increasing your risk of developing some eye conditions, such as cataracts. That’s one reason why wearing sunglasses is so important.

Short Term Effects:


This is a sunburn of the cornea. When you have photokeratitis, the symptoms you may experience include:

  • Redness
  • Pain
  • Watery eyes 
  • Blurry vision 
  • A sandy/gritty feeling in the eye. 

Photokeratitis often occurs from intense UV exposure

Pinguecula & Pterygium 

Prolonged UV exposure can also cause jelly-like growths on the conjunctiva of the eye. Pinguecula is a yellowish bump on the conjunctiva, while pterygium is a fleshy-like growth that can extend onto the cornea, potentially affecting your vision.

Long Term Effects:


Cataracts cause a clouding of the lens in the eye, which can lead to blurry vision, glare, sensitivity to light, and reduced contrast. Long-term exposure to UV rays is a significant risk factor for the development of cataracts. Proper UV protection can help delay the onset or progression of cataracts. 

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

AMD affects the macula—the part of the retina that is responsible for sharp, central vision—and can cause a gradual loss of vision over time. UV exposure has been linked to an increased risk of macular degeneration. 

Eyelid Cancer 

Prolonged UV exposure can increase the risk of skin cancers on the eyelids, including basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. 

How Can You Protect Your Eyes from UV Light? 

We highly recommend the following solutions for UV protection:

  1. Wear a high-quality pair of sunglasses: Choose sunglasses that block 100% of UVA and UVB light rays.
  2. Wear a wide-brimmed hat: A hat with a brim all the way around can provide additional protection for your eyes and face.
  3. Use UV-blocking contact lenses: Consider contacts that offer additional UV protection to help protect your cornea.
  4. Use UV-blocking eyewear for specific activities: For activities with prolonged sun exposure, such as skiing, snowboarding, or water sports, consider wearing goggles or sunglasses that can give you adequate UV protection and are specifically designed for those activities.

We also recommend scheduling routine eye exams with your Stoney Creek optometrist. We can help monitor your eye health for damage from UV rays. 

Book your eye exam with Perception Eyecare by calling 289-309-1090!

Written by Dr. Casthoory Viswanathan

instagram facebook facebook2 pinterest twitter google-plus google linkedin2 yelp youtube phone location calendar share2 link star-full star star-half chevron-right chevron-left chevron-down chevron-up envelope fax