Medicine Hat Vision Care – Jim Stewart

Ultra Violet and Blue light (Part 1)

In this article I just wanted to give people some things to think about.  Topics that anyone in the optical profession deal with more and more.  One’s an older topic, one’s a newer topic.  Those being ultra violet rays and blue light rays.

Everyone has heard of ultra violet light before, one way or another.  Of course it’s the part of the light spectrum that causes sun tans or burns on your skin but, can also cause some challenges for your eyes.  Ultra violet rays are the part of the light spectrum below 400 nanometers and are invisible to the human eye.

There are two types of UV rays: UV-A and UV-B.  Over time, the effects of UV rays may help cause a number of eye problems.  UV-A can hurt your central vision.  It can damage the macula, a part of the retina at the back of your eye.   UV-B The front part of your eye (the cornea and the lens) absorbs most UV-B rays, but these rays may cause even more damage to your eyes than UV-A rays.

Over unprotected exposure to UV can promote cataracts to grow, promote macular degeneration, pterygium, skin cancer and corneal sunburn.

Macular Degeneration is deterioration of the macula which is the small central area of the retina of the eye that controls visual acuity.   Cataract is the clouding of the eye’s natural lens, the part of the eye that focuses the light we see.  Pterygium is a growth that begins on the white of the eye and may involve the cornea.  Eventually, the growth may block vision.  Skin Cancer around the eyelids is also linked to prolonger UV exposure.  Corneal Sunburn, called photokeratitis, is the result of high short-term exposure to UV-B rays.  Long hours at the beach or skiing without proper eye protection can cause this problem.  It can be very painful and may cause temporary vision loss.

To be continued…