How Sunlight Affects The Eyes
Is it ever safe to look at the sun? The Doctors invited Opthalmologist Dr. Kerry Assil to discuss how the sun affects your eyesight. He said looking directly at the sun can cause blindness. I’ve always heard that, so I guess I believe it. But then shouldn’t a lot more of us have gone blind from staring at it?
The Doctors: Is It Safe To Watch The Sunset?
Watching the sun set with a loved one is a romantic task almost everyone has done in their lifetime. But have you ever thought about whether it’s safe for your eyes? Dr. Assil said you can tell whether it’s safe to stare at a sunset based on how low the sun is in the sky.
If it’s still yellow, or bothers your eye, you shouldn’t be looking at it. Wait until it changes color to orange or red. Even then, Dr. Assil said you should take breaks from watching the sunset to let your eyes rest.
The Doctors: Sunset Eye Dangers
Dr. Assil said staring at the sun can cause tumors on the eyelids or surface of the eye. Cataracts are a common cause of eye surgery, and sun exposure accelerates problems associated with them.
Snow Blindless at high altitudes is also a risk. Dr. Travis said he saw a few cases of Snow Blindness while working in the ER. People at high altitudes and snowy climates who forget their sunglasses are particularly at risk.
The Drs TV: Pterygium Surgery
Those who work or play outside can also get a Pterygium, a scab on the surface of their eye, that needs to be surgically removed. Dr. Assil showed a video of a recent Pterygium surgery. You can read more about How Pterygium Surgery Works.
Dr. Jim Sears added that the retinas in your eye don’t have pain receptors, so you can be looking at a bright light and not know it’s causing damage. Dr. Travis Stork added that this is dangerous even with glasses on.
Dr. Assil said most patients can recover from brief sun exposure or Snow Blindness, but prolonged exposure can cause permanent damage.
Indoor Blindness: Rods Vs Cones
The retina is made of rods and cones. Rods see in black and white, and help you see in dark areas with low light. Cones see in color and like bright light. Outdoors in the sun, the Cones are happy but the Rods are overstimulated. Their chemicals are depleted and need a moment to refuel before they can do their job and help you see in lower light.
Dr. Travis Stork said everyone should take care of their eye health.
The Doctors: Glowing Dog Leash
Dr. Andrew Ordon showed off a Glowing Dog Leash that can keep you safe while walking your dog at night.
Walking At Night Safety Tips
Dr. Travis Stork recommended avoiding dark colors at night. He said to wear light clothing or reflective gear.