Dermatologists have long warned patients of the danger of excessive sun exposure to their skin. Less well known is that our eyes are just as susceptible to damage from ultraviolet (UV) light. Scientific research has clearly linked several eye diseases to damage from UV light. These diseases include cataract, macular degeneration, snow-blindness, pterygium and skin cancer, to name a few.


One of the most well known eye diseases is cataract. Cataract is a hazing of the normally clear lens inside of the eye. The normal lens allows light to reach the retina for clear vision. Cataract reduce vision. The number one cause of blindness in the world is cataract. Although factors such as nutrition and genetics play a role in cataract formation, UV exposure is primarily responsible.

Macular Degeneration

In recent years, the public has become increasingly aware of this ocular disease that goes by many different names. Macular degeneration is a result of the death of cells in the central (macular) part of the retina. Like cataract, it is thought to have nutrition, genetics, and UV exposure as factors in development. 

Snow-Blindness (Photokeratitis)

Also known as "welder's flash". This is a condition that comes from a brief, but intense exposure to ultraviolet light. The cornea, the outermost clear part of the eye is affected. Symptoms usually include eye pain (sometimes severe) light sensitivity, tearing, and foreign body sensation. These symptoms usually resolve after about a day. This syndrome is caused by part of the UV spectrum called UV-B. Welders not wearing a welder's mask for eye protection often experience this problem, as well as people with exposure to bright sunlight in combination with freshly fallen snow. Skiers without eye protection on the slopes, or even exposure to the intense glare from the ocean or lakes can lead to this "sunburn" of the eyes.


It is fleshy growth of conjunctiva on the cornea. It progresses slowly and if not treated can cover pupil and lead to blindness. It is more in tropical countries probably because of exposure to UV rays and chronic eye irritation from dry and dusty atmosphere. 


Using of dark glasses may help in preventing the disease.

Use of Lubricating drops gives relief from irritation.

Only treatment is surgical excision but because of high recurrence rate surgery should be done only if it is:

Observed to be increasing in size as seen in regular visits or
If it reaches near the pupillary border. 
Cosmetically disfiguring.
Decreasing vision because of irregular astigmatism.

Recurrence rate after excision can be reduced by the use of Mitomycin C applied during surgery or conjunctival graft or amniotic membrane graft.

Keratoplasty : It is done if there is:

Marked corneal thinning after excision of recurrent Pterygium.
Pterygium has involved pupillary area leading to decreased vision.


It is a yellowish patch or swelling on white of eye near cornea. It does not grow onto cornea and needs no treatment. It is supposed to be due to Sunlight and chronic eye irritation.

Skin Cancer

Mostly everyone is familiar with the connection between UV exposure and skin cancer. The areas of skin most susceptible to cancer are those most chronically exposed to the sun, so it makes sense that the eyelids and the areas around the eyes are at risk. UV exposure is a known-factor in the three types of skin cancer, basal cell, squamous cell, and malignant melanoma.

What can we do to help prevent these things from happening to us?

Quality sunglasses have ultraviolet coatings to block UV light from reaching the eyes and surrounding skin. They are a sunscreen for our eyes. Inferior sunglasses may only block a percentage of UV light, and claim to be "UV blocking." A quality pair will block 100% of UV light transmission. Make sure you find out which kind your are purchasing, and then make sure you use them whenever feasible.

A recent advance in technology has allowed the addition of UV-blocking properties to some contact lenses. Although not a substitute for sunglasses, UV contacts help block UV rays that get past sunglasses from the sides.


Increasing Eye Diseases | Blepharitis
Headache |Refractive Errors | Myopia/Shortsightedness | C S R
Hypermetropia | Astigmatism | Presbyopia | Amblyopia/Lazy Eye |
Contact Lenses
Radial Keratotomy | PRK | Lasik | Intra Corneal Rings | Phakic Implants | Squint | Cataract | Glaucoma
 Glaucoma Medications
| Retinal Holes/Tears | Retinal Detachment | Diabetic Retinopathy | Retinitis Pigmentosa | Pterygium
Macular Degeneration | Uveitis | Dry Eye | Computer Vision Syndrome | UV Rays & Eye Diseases | SnowBlindness/Photo Keratitis