The sun can still cause damage to your eyes in this June gloom.
Studies show that sun damage to your eyes now can increase your risk of macular degeneration and cataracts later in life. Wearing sunglasses is just one way to help protect your peepers.
While it hasn’t been proven that one particular thing causes cataracts, the Mayo Clinic recommends not smoking, eating lots of veggies, staying healthy and getting regular eye exams to help slow down the clouding of the eye’s lens. Vitamin D has been shown to help lower cataract risk in women. However, cataract formation is not completely preventable.
Other health problems like diabetes may also increase your risk of cataract. Nowadays, cataracts can be remedied with an outpatient surgery that removes the protein buildup, or “cloud” on the eye’s lens. Synthetic multi-focal or prescription lenses can also be installed in the eye during the procedure. Because ophthalmologists at different skill levels charge different prices per eye, the cost can be anywhere from $1,000 to $4,000 without insurance.
Age-related macular degeneration is the destruction of the macula, which is what allows for sharp, central vision. It is the number one cause of vision loss among those age 50 or older, according to the National Institutes of Health. Not smoking and eating a healthful, veggie-rich diet may help slow the onset of macular degeneration. There is no surgery for it, however eye drops are sometimes prescribed for the dry form of the disease. There is also a wet form of macular degeneration, but it is considered an intermediate stage before the dry form’s onset.
Once you decide that sunglasses are a good idea, be sure to check that they offer 100 percent ultraviolet (UV) ray protection. Also, sunglasses with polarized lenses help block intense light from refracted surfaces. Non-polarized sunglasses tend to have dark enough lenses to reduce the intensity of light, but does not protect against horizontal light.