For those who spend a lot of time in the sun, you may be interested to find out your eyes and skin are most vulnerable at different times of the day. While many apps have measurements for the ultraviolet index telling us when our skin is most susceptible for damage, not as much data is available for ocular damage.
“Why do we need a separate system for measuring UV light damage and the eye?”
Sun rays travel in waves. When the sun is highest in the sky (summer time and roughly 10:00 am to 2:00 pm) the UV index is highest, and your skin is the most sensitive to damage. At the same time, your ocular system is designed to protect you BEST at this time of day. Your brow bone covers your eyes, preventing most direct light from entering the eyes and damaging the internal structures.
So when is the eye most vulnerable? It turns out, when the sun is lower on the horizon (sunrise, sunset, and winter), sunlight has an easier time directly entering the eye damaging the internal structures, as well as some of the external ocular tissues. This means wearing your sunglasses is not only important during the warmest parts of the day, but any time your eyes are in direct sunlight, and especially around sunrises and sunsets. Clouds don’t protect you either. In fact, they give us a false sense of protection, and can be the culprit of some of the worst UV damage.
What are some repercussions of sun damage when it comes to the eyes?
Sunglasses can help to reduce progression, or prevent the development of these common ocular diseases. Next time you have a fun day planned, remember to bring your UV protection (and not just for your skin!)