UV Damage You Can’t See That Impacts Your Vision

Overexposure to UV rays has been linked to a variety of eye problems.

Last Updated: April 5, 2024

While most Canadians recognize the importance of sunscreen to prevent sunburns and skin cancer, many are unaware that UV light from the sun can cause serious eye damage. In fact, overexposure to UV rays has been linked to a number of eye diseases that can lead to vision loss. It is important to see your optometrist for regular comprehensive eye examinations and take the necessary precautions to protect your vision from the sun’s harmful rays.

How to protect your vision

Avoid sources of UV radiation

Don’t stare directly at the sun; be aware of reflections from snow, water, sand, and pavement. If you’re a welder, lighting technician, paint and resin worker, or work outdoors, be sure you’re in the know about potential risks and how to avoid UV exposure.

Protect your peepers

Wear sunglasses that are 100% UV-blocking against UVA and UVB rays. They should be close-fitting with a wrap-around style frame to help keep UV light out. Wear a wide-brimmed hat when outdoors for added protection.

Doing so helps protect against:

Stay informed

See your optometrist for regular comprehensive eye examinations to monitor eye health, maintain good vision, and stay up-to-date on the latest in UV protection.

11 AM – 3 PM

Limit your time in the sun between 11 AM to 3 PM, when the sun’s rays are strongest.

Children are at high risk

Babies and children are especially sensitive to the sun. Keep babies younger than one year of age out of direct sunlight and place them in the shade, under a tree, an umbrella, or a canopy. Children should wear rimmed sun hats and UV-protective sunglasses when the sun is strong.

Recognize the symptoms

If you’re experiencing immediate pain, an inflamed cornea, or an aversion to light, see your optometrist right away.

Your optometrist can make specific recommendations to ensure your eyes are well-protected and to fit you with your perfect pair of sunglasses. Booking a comprehensive eye exam can identify the early onset of eye conditions related to UV that may not have apparent symptoms.

See Health Canada’s information on sun safety for more tips on protecting yourself from UV radiation: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/sun-safety.html


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