When basking in the warm glow of the sun, it’s easy to forget that our eyes are susceptible to damage from its powerful rays. Prolonged exposure to sunlight (UV rays) without proper protection can lead to a range of eye conditions, collectively known as sun-related eye damage. Often, we may not realise the extent of the damage until it is too late, as symptoms of sunburn in the eyes can take several hours to manifest.
Let’s explore the signs and symptoms of sun-related eye damage, Dr Mandeep Singh Basu, CEO of Jagat Pharma sheds light on the importance of protecting our eyes from harmful UV rays.
Redness and swelling
One of the primary symptoms of sun-related eye damage is redness and swelling of the eyes. Prolonged exposure to the sun’s UV rays can cause irritation and inflammation of the delicate tissues surrounding the eyes, leading to redness and puffiness. If a person notices these symptoms after spending time outdoors, it may indicate sun-induced eye damage.
Blurred vision is another common sign of sun-related eye damage. According to Ayurveda, this symptom is associated with an imbalance in the Vatadosha, responsible for bodily functions and movements. Prolonged exposure to the sun can increase dryness in the eyes, leading to disturbance in the natural lubrication and causing hazy or blurry vision. If the vision becomes hazy or unclear after being in the sun for an extended period, it is essential to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Sensitivity to bright light
Sun-related eye damage can also make the eyes more sensitive to bright light, known as photophobia. If an individual is squinting or experiencing discomfort when exposed to sunlight or other intense light sources, it may indicate eye damage caused by UV radiation. Photophobia can further lead to headaches and eye strain.
Twitching of the eyelids
In some cases, sunburned eyes may exhibit eyelid twitching or spasms. This involuntary movement of the eyelids, known as myokymia, can respond to the eye’s excessive exposure to UV radiation. If someone experiences eyelid twitching along with other symptoms, it is advisable to consult an eye care professional.
Dryness and grittiness
The sun’s rays can deplete the natural moisture in the eyes, leading to dryness and a gritty feeling. Ayurvedic texts suggest that excessive heat can disturb the balance of the bodily humors, particularly Vatadosha, resulting in dryness, itching, and discomfort.
If the eyes feel dry, irritated, or have something gritty in them, it could be a sign of sun-induced damage. Seeking appropriate treatment and using artificial tears can help alleviate the discomfort. Use Ayurvedic eye drops containing cooling herbs like rose water, aloe vera, or Triphala to soothe and nourish the eyes.
Eye fatigue and discomfort
Excessive exposure to the sun can strain the eyes and lead to fatigue and a sense of heaviness. Ayurveda attributes these symptoms to an imbalance in the Kapha dosha, representing stability and nourishment. The eyes may feel tired, achy, or heavy, making it challenging to concentrate or engage in visually demanding tasks. This condition can affect productivity and quality of life. Eye fatigue can also lead to heaviness in the eyes.
Changes in colour perception
Sun-related eye damage can sometimes affect an individual’s colour perception. If a person notices alterations in how they perceive colours or has difficulty distinguishing between certain shades, it could result from UV-induced eye damage. This symptom warrants a thorough evaluation by an eye care specialist.
Summing up, protecting our eyes from the harmful effects of UV radiation is crucial to maintaining optimal eye health. Recognising the signs and symptoms of sun-related eye damage can help us take prompt action and seek appropriate medical attention. Practising sun safety measures, such as wearing UV-protective sunglasses and hats, and staying in the shade during peak sun hours, can significantly help reduce the risk of sun-related eye damage and safeguard our vision for years. Also, practising eye exercises and resting the eyes periodically, especially during activities that involve extended screen time or intense visual focus. Moreover, include Pitta-pacifying foods like sweet fruits, leafy greens, and cooling herbs in your diet to maintain balance.