By: Derek Dong
Based on a 2014 study by the U.S. National Eye Institute (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24798334), part of the National Institutes of Health, it is possible for UV radiation to damage the proteins in the lens of your eyes. Over time, the damage caused by this radiation can increase someone’s risk for health hazards like cataracts, which can impair vision.
“When you don’t wear protection, ultraviolet radiation you cannot see is penetrating the eye, and the eye structures are very sensitive to it,” explains Dr. Rebecca Taylor, an ophthalmologist and spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. It turns out, the back of the eye, or retina, has a very sensitive central area called the macula. “If you put a target in the center of the retina right behind the pupil, the macula would be the bull’s-eye,” Taylor explains. “And when light comes into the eye, it hits that macula like a laser beam.”