During the summer, the health of the eye must be protected with precautions that depend on the age and the activities that are done
The human eye? It is a wonderful machine. But you have to know how to protect it from the sun. It has a focusing lens system that brings to the retina a quantity of light, and with it of radiation, 10 to 100 times higher than that of the skin. Children are especially at risk, whose lens – the lens inside the eye that darkens in the event of cataracts – has a lower filtering capacity than adults.
It is not much better for the elderly, who are instead exposed to the sum of years of damage related to exposure to light. Even cataracts and maculopathies, real lesions to the retina that mainly affect the third age, can be favored by prolonged exposure to sunlight.
The risk of running into problems of this kind increases exponentially with the habit of being exposed to the sun, the reflection of the rays on the sand (which increases its intensity by 15%), on sea, lake and swimming pool water and on the snow of glaciers (which make them intense up to 30%).
Not all rays are the same
According to experts, for all these reasons, we must pay attention to sun lenses. According to ophthalmologists, it is essential to choose the filtering power based on the activities that take place and any risks related to your characteristics.
In this sense, just think of the people who have had cases in the family of maculopathy of the retina (the macula is the central part of this nerve membrane) or those who may work outdoors for a long time. To better understand the importance of these accessories, just remember that the sun's rays that affect vision and could be harmful to the eyes during the summer are of three types.
The first are ultraviolet rays, which can cause corneal and crystalline disturbances. This type of radiation must be blocked by the lenses, since it does not contribute to vision but can only create problems. Then there are the blue colored rays, useful for clearly distinguishing the color of objects, which are very aggressive for the retina.
Consequently, they must be partially shielded. Finally, infrared rays exist, which are not harmful to the eyes but represent a risk to the eyelids due to the high heat they develop. For all these reasons, protecting yourself is a duty.
Exposure to the sun without eye protection can give acute problems, such as redness, burning and sensations of having a foreign body in the eye. However, it is essential to make sure that these nuisances do not appear, properly protecting the eyes themselves. .
Beware of acute damage
Surely conjunctivitis, in this sense, is a risk that should not be underestimated. The inflammation of this membrane, which covers the eyelids inside, causes redness, tearing, burning. In these cases, astringent eye drops should be avoided. These drugs have the temporary effect of reducing tearing and redness, but as soon as their use is stopped, by reaction, they start to water and redden again.
Instead, it is better to resort to ophthalmic ointments to be applied inside the eye. Much more serious is keratitis, inflammation of the cornea, a transparent membrane located in the front of the sclera, that is, the "white" of the eye.
Also in this case, the cause may be an untreated eye inflammation, which causes small ulcerations on the surface of the cornea. In this case there is an intense tearing, burning and photophobia, that is, difficulty in enduring light.
It is a rather painful disorder, but not particularly dangerous even if it must always be addressed by the specialist. Finally, an exaggerated exposure to the sun can cause pterygium over the years: it is a small, completely benign formation, caused by the thickening of the blood vessels of the conjunctiva.
It has a unique triangular shape and normally starts from the inner point of the eye. It is not painful, just unsightly and can be eliminated with a little intervention. On the front of the defenses, it is better to avoid exposing yourself to the sun in the hottest hours, when the sun is at its zenith and the rays are more intense.
A wide-brimmed hair – very important especially for the little ones – protects the eyes from direct light and prevents heat stroke. Coming to the glasses, these should have good quality lenses that protect 100 per 100 from ultraviolet rays, both A and B.
There are different categories of lenses and it is necessary to identify the most suitable ones for each person based on the conditions in which they will be exposed to the sun. For example, to protect the eyes from the action of the wind and the entry into the eyes of foreign bodies – common situations when trekking in the desert or on glaciers – it is advisable to choose a frame that is large enough and with side protection.
Lastly, do not forget the importance of hydration: the intraocular gel, which is called vitreous humor, dehydrates more easily. This is why it is important to "quench" the eye, both from the outside, by drinking regularly, and possibly from the inside.