What The Sun Does To Your Eyes

Those sunglasses are much more than a fashion statement. Sunglasses can shield your eyes from health problems like sunburns, cataracts, and skin cancer. 

Skin around the eyes: The skin around the eyes and, in particular, the eyelids is made up of a very thin tissues. Over time, repeated UV exposure (not to mention constant squinting) can lead to wrinkles and age spots, we well as small cancers around the eye. 

White of the eyes: Sun damage can cause a condition called pinguecula, a thickening of the conjunctiva, which is the clear, thin membrane that covers the white of the eye. This causes raised, yellow spots on the eye, near the cornea. While there's no known danger to vision, it can get irritated and inflames. The conjunctiva can also thicken and grow over the cornea, creating a condition called pterygium (also known as surfer's eye, which might obscure vision. 

Iris: Research has suggested that blue eyed people are more susceptible to macular degeneration. While as this point we don't know the exact reason, we recommend even more strongly that people with light eyes wear sunglasses. 

Retina: The retina is a light-sensitive layer of tissues that lines the back of the eye. The macula is the part of the retina where we have straight ahead and detailed vision. That macula can start to deteriorate, causing a condition called macular degeneration, leading to blurred vision or a blind spot. Some information suggests there could be an association between UV light and macular degeneration. 

Lens: Behind the iris of the eye is a crystalline lens that helps focus light onto the retina. That lens can develop a cloudiness, which is known as cataract. UV light has been implicated in the development of some types of cataracts. 

Cornea: Here's a common summertime scenario: People go to the beach for a day and as they are driving home their eyes feel kind of gritty, like maybe there's sand in there. By 10 p.m. they are in agony and by 11 they've landed in the ER for a sunburned cornea, which can cause tremendous pain and blindness. 

You can avoid all of these issues in the future by just wearing your sunglasses!

Soaking Up The Sun May Not Be A Good Thing

Now that summer is here, most people will be spending more time outdoors. Which is great! We want to give those eyes a break from computers and TVs as much as possible, but you need to remember to protect your eyes while outside. 

UV rays are present everyday of the year, even on overcast days. UV damage to the eyes is cumulative and often irreversible, but so easy to prevent! Always make sure you have UV rated sunglasses on and a hat too to help block the sun's rays to protect those eyes. Your eyes are the only internal tissue that is exposed to UV rays. 

Children and individuals who have light colored eyes are most at risk to UV damage. Some studies even show that UV rays may be tied to:

  • Cataracts
  • Eye cancer
  • Temporary sun blindness
  • Growths on the eye 

So make sure you cover up and protect your eyes this summer with sunglasses and a hat!

How To Keep Your Eyes Healthy At Work

In an office job, you're likely to stare at a computer screen for 7 hours a day. That's 35 hours a week and 1,820 per year. On top of that, when we get home we tend to use smartphones, televisions, tablets and laptops. Our eyes never seem to get a break from digital devices. There are some things you can do, however, while at work that can help alleviate the change of computer vision syndrome (CVS). 

Having a bad desk layout is on of the most common causes of CVS in the workplace, yet it's actually the easiest to fix. The top of your monitor should be at your eye level or just below it, and should be an arm's length away. 

When staring at a monitor all day, it's important to give you eye muscles a chance to relax. Take short breaks throughout the day like walking to the printer, making a cup of tea, or chatting with a coworker. If you can't get up or take a long break, remember the 20/20/20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. 

Brightness in the office can make a huge difference too. Your monitor should not seem any brighter or any darker than the lighting in your office. If you're struggling to read what's on your screen or your screen is an obvious light source, your need to change settings. Lastly, you can use an anti-glare screen filter to reduce the amount of light reflected off your screen. 

A Message For Contact Lens Wearers

You only have one pair of eyes, so take care of them! When it comes to wearing contacts, healthy habits mean healthy eyes. Follow these tips to help prevent eye infections. 

Habits:

  • Wash and dry your hans before touching your contacts.
  • Don't sleep in your contacts (unless your doctor says it's okay).
  • Avoid wearing contacts while showering, swimming, or using a hot tub. 

Gear:

Contacts

  • Rub and rinse you contacts with solution each time you clean them. Never use water or spit!
  • Never store your contacts in water.
  • Replace your contacts as often as your doctor advises. 

Case

  • Rub and rinse your case every day with solution, dry with a clean tissue, and store upside with the caps off. 
  • Get a new case every three months. 

Solution

  • Use only fresh, disinfecting solution in you case - don't mix old with new. 
  • Use on the solution you doctor tells you to. 

Eye doctor:

  • Visit your eye doctor often.
  • Ash questions about how to care for your lenses and case.
  • Take out your contacts and call your eye doctor if you have eye pain, red eyes, or blurred vision. 

Follow these tips to maintain healthy eyes while wearing contact lenses. Also, it doesn't hurt to always be prepared - carry a pair of glasses with you in case you need to take your contacts out for whatever reason. 

 

The Production of Sight

No matter the color, our eyes are amazing mechanisms. They work work much like very complex cameras. Like a camera, the human eye uses light bouncing off images to capture an image. No light, no image. 

There are four main parts of our eyes that are vital to the production of sight. First we have the surface of the eye that includes the cornea and aqueous humor. The cornea is the surface layer of the eye that is covered in a thin layer of tears and focuses light and allows it to penetrate. While the aqueous humor is the layer of moisture directly between the cornea and pupil. 

Also part of the eye surface are the pupil (the dark circle in the middle of the iris), crystalline lens, which is directly behind the pupil and changes shape to focus on light reflecting from near or distant objects, and the ciliary muscles, which surround the lens and allows us to see far objects. 

The next main part is the center of the eye which include the vitreous of the eye and the retina. The vitreous of the eye is a clear, jelly-like substance that surrounds the retina, which is like a film in a camera. Focused light is projected onto it's flat, smooth surface and images are projected onto the retina (and are upside down!). 

Next, we have photoreceptors which have two main varieties, rods and cones. Rods are useful for monochrome vision in poor light, while cones detect more detail. There are millions of photoreceptors in an eye and they are light's final destination. Light is converted into electrochemical signals and those signals are related to the vision center near the back of the brains via the optic nerve. 

Lastly, our brain, translates signals in to the images we see and flips them 180 degrees to interpret the image in the correct format. Although our eyes do not technically see, they are certainly the medium through which we sense and collect data. Our brain interprets that data to create an accurate picture of the world around us.