How Does the Sun Affect My Eyes? Can Vision Correction Surgery Help?

woman squinting up at sun

Your Eyes May Be at Risk, But There Are Solutions

We’re all familiar with the sun’s damaging effects on our skin. The sun’s UV rays have enough energy to cause DNA changes that lead to accelerated aging and certain types of skin cancer. Despite these risks, only a reported 60% of the U.S. population wears sunscreen during the summer.

With unsettling numbers like these, it’s no surprise that many are even less informed about the effects of the sun on our eye health. Sunlight can be just as harmful to our eyes, especially over a prolonged period of time.

Keep reading to learn more about the damage that the sun’s rays can cause and how to start protecting your eyesight, especially if you’re noticing vision changes.

The Dangers of UV Light

UV light can affect your eye health in a number of ways. First, think of your eyelids’ skin and how thin it is. When exposed to sunlight, your eyelids can quickly become the site of skin cancer. The American Society of Clinical Oncology estimates that 5 to 10% of all cancers occur on the eyelids.

Sunlight also increases the risk of several forms of eye damage, including:

  • Cataracts (a clouding of the eye lens).
  • Macular degeneration (a disease of the retina).
  • Cancers on the surface of the eye.

Therefore, it is important to take these preventative measures in the sun:

  • Wear UV-protectant sunglasses.
  • Wear a hat designed for sun protection.
  • Fully apply sunscreen to your face.
  • Pay extra attention if you have light eyes and hair, the population in which eye cancer is most likely to occur.

Keep in mind that cataracts, macular degeneration, and eye cancers aren’t solely caused by sun damage. Doctors also recommend focusing on your eye health in other ways, including diet, exercise, and regular eye exams.

However, if you are a patient 45 years of age or older and experiencing vision changes that you think are related to sun or age, another solution exists: laser vision correction near you.

How Vision Correction Surgery Can Prevent Further Vision Problems As We Age

Although the sun is not the only cause of vision loss, research from the National Eye Institute suggests that UV light increases your likelihood of decreased vision due to cataracts.

Patients whose eyes are aging may wish to correct vision loss with laser eye surgery to correct vision loss. You may be a candidate for refractive lens exchange if you’re experiencing any of these vision difficulties:

  • You struggle to focus on near objects (presbyopia).
  • You have a hard time reading in dim light.
  • Seeing clearly when driving is a challenge.
  • You cannot see objects that are far away (nearsightedness).
  • You’ve received an early cataracts diagnosis.

RLE replaces your natural lens with a high-quality intraocular lens (IOL) that prevents cataracts, removes your need for glasses, bifocals, and contacts, and corrects your nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and presbyopia.

Vision Correction Surgery for Patients With Cataracts

Many older adults don’t recognize they have cataracts forming on the lenses of their eyes until an optometrist or ophthalmologist diagnoses them. However, these older adults notice the symptoms of cataracts, which include:

  • Cloudy, blurry, or dim vision.
  • Difficulty seeing at night.
  • Halos around lights.
  • Fading colors.
  • Yellowing of colors.

Patients who are struggling with the symptoms of cataracts may be good candidates for refractive cataract surgery. Similar to RLE, refractive cataract surgery swaps the natural eye lens for an artificial one, removing the cataract and correcting the patient’s vision. Like RLE, refractive cataract surgery corrects presbyopia, nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.

For those who receive RLE or cataract surgery, eye doctors highly recommend the use of UV-protectant sunglasses and a healthy lifestyle to further prevent damage to the eyes. In fact, protecting your eyes from the sun applies for any patient who gets a vision correction procedure and wishes to preserve their eye health. Once you recognize all the benefits that laser eye surgery provides, you’ll be far more likely to stay vigilant about your eyes.

Learn More About the Benefits of Vision Correction Surgery

Laser vision correction offers more than just cataract prevention and removal. Adults ages 18 and older can experience clearer vision without the use of glasses or contacts.

But improved vision isn’t the only benefit. They also include:

  • Savings: Over your lifetime, eye surgery to correct your vision is far less expensive than years of contacts, glasses, eye exams, and contact lens accessories.
  • Quality of life: Laser vision allows you to experience all the areas of life that contacts and glasses make more challenging, including swimming, exercise, and travel. It also improves your sense of safety and security.
  • Better eye health: Contacts cause eye infections, irritate your eyes, and dry them out. They also exacerbate allergies for many wearers.

Find out more about the laser surgery procedure that is right for your eyes when you search for laser vision correction near you.