Your eyes are the only internal tissue in your body exposed to UV light.
They are exposed every day of the year, even in cloudy conditions.
- What is it: A painful eye condition that affects the surface of the cornea, effectively sun-burning the eye. It is triggered by very bright snowy conditions, or when sunlight reflects off sand and water.
- How to spot it: Pain, redness, light sensitivity, headaches, halos.
- Treatment: It should disappear naturally over a few days – avoid wearing contact lenses. Keeping away from sunlight and using eye drops can help. If the problem persists, stronger antibiotic eye-drop may be prescribed.
- What is it: People who spend long hours outdoors – particularly in intense sunlight – may develop growths on their eyes, called pterygium. Those most at risk include farmers, skiers, fishermen and surfers. That’s why the condition is known as ‘surfer’s eye’.
- How to spot it: Redness, inflammation, foreign body sensation, dry and itchy eyes.
- Treatment: Discomfort from growths can be treated with eye drops or irradiation of the eye. Surgery is only required at an advanced stage.
- What is it: Cloudy patches on the lens of the eye. Age is the biggest risk factor, but overexposure to daylight also increases the likelihood of developing cataracts.
- How to spot it: Blurred, cloudy, misty or double vision, poor night vision, sensitivity to light, halo effect, and a yellow or brown tinge to the sight.
- Treatment: Surgery to replace the affected lens with an artificial one.
- What is it: Radiation in UV light is absorbed by the lens of the eye. In rare cases, this can contribute over time to the development of eye cancer.
- How to spot it: Blurred vision, flashing lights, or an appearance of orange pigment on the surface of the eye.
- Treatment: Radiotherapy to destroy cancerous cells (while maintaining as much vision as possible). Surgery may also be necessary.