Ultraviolet Light and the Eyes

What are the Effects of Ultraviolet (UV) Light and the Eyes?

Ultraviolet light has been linked to the progression of several eye conditions.  The most common conditions are the development of macular degeneration and cataracts.  Both of these conditions can affect the quality of your vision.  Ultraviolet light rays can also cause ptergium (fleshy growths on the eye surface that grow onto the cornea) and eye cancers such as melanoma and basal cell carcinoma.

Macular degeneration can potentially lead to irreversible blindness.  Cataract development can affect the quality of your vision and sometimes require surgery to improve the vision.  Although most people develop cataracts as they age, cataracts can develop quicker due to ultraviolet light.

Ultraviolet Light Protection for the EyesUltraviolet light | Alaina Kronenberg MD | Eye Surgery Institute

When you purchase sunglasses, you want to look for ones that eliminate 100% of UV A and UV B rays.  The glasses do not necessarily need to be expensive.  The darkness of the lens is not as important. Most lenses will state the amount of UVA and UVB protection that they provide.

Lenses that wrap around the side of your face provide more protection than regular sunglasses.  Wearing a hat with a large rim can also be helpful.  Although some contact lenses do offer some UV protection, it is important to also wear sunglasses if you are a contact lens wearer to protect your eyes.

Detecting Eye Problems

Dr. Stanley Grandon, Dr. Cindy Wang and I can perform a comprehensive eye examination to detect eye conditions.  If a problem does develop, it is often better to diagnose and offer potential treatments early.  We can perform a dilated eye exam and check for problems.  The Eye Surgery Institute also sells good quality sunglasses that can help to protect your eyes from sun damage.


Alaina Kronenberg, M.D.
Cataract Specialist
Comprehensive Ophthalmologist
Dearborn, Michigan 48126