As the days grow longer and the outdoors becomes more inviting, few people think about the damage UV rays can have on their eyes. Further, they may not realize that it can age the eye prematurely, leading to the development of cataracts. A new study that was partially funded by the National Eye Institute (NEI) has provided answers you may wish to share with your patients. It’s important to inform them of how the sun’s rays can affect their eyes and lead to vision loss.
In order to produce energy, our bodies may create a process known as oxidative stress. Contributing to visible signs of aging and accelerating age-related diseases such as cataract, these harmful chemical processes occur when our cells consume oxygen and other fuels in order to meet energy requirements.
Since the oldest cells in the lens don’t get much oxygen and are without the organelles that keep most other cells healthy and vital, it may seem like oxidative stress is an unlikely factor in the chances of contracting cataracts. New research has shown that UV light can replace oxygen in the stress process during prolonged sun exposure, damaging the proteins in the lens of the eye and resulting in the age-related formation of cataracts.
In order for your patients to maintain good eye health, it may be beneficial for you to share the results of this study with them and show them how cataracts can impede their vision. Remind them of the importance of protecting their eyes from UV rays by using proper sunglasses and hats to keep the sun out of their eyes.
Implementing Optos’ ultra-widefield retinal imaging devices can help you diagnose and treat early symptoms of diseases which affect eye health, including cataracts. Visit our website to learn more about our devices, or to book a consultation.
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