What happens if you look at the sun?

LASIK | St Louis Missouri

Warm weather is finally here, and though sunshine seems like a long-lost friend, getting too friendly with those sunrays is a bad idea. In fact, looking at the sun can (and does) cause short-term–and sometimes long-term–damage to your vision.

Whether you’re laying on a beach looking up at the sun or watching beautiful sunset, exposing your eyes directly to the sun’s rays is never a good idea.

In fact, you’ve probably already experienced some of the short-term damage caused by staring directly at the sun: blurry vision, dark or yellow spots, or loss of vision in the center of the eye. This damage is called solar retinopathy. Though solar retinopathy can cause blindness in extreme cases (particularly during solar eclipses, when intensity of the rays kicks up several notches), most of the time, looking directly at the sun long enough to cause long-term damage is too uncomfortable for people to do it.

What’s more common is damage caused by a lifetime of sun exposure. If you spend a lot of time outside without sunglasses to block both UVA and UVB light, by the time you reach your 50s, you may find yourself troubled by corneal sunburn or growths on the surface of the eye. And, though everyone eventually gets cataracts, they may develop and worsen more rapidly than they would have otherwise.

This type of cumulative damage is subtler, but the implications can be serious. It’s never too late to start protecting your eyes from the sun, and most of the time it’s as simple as grabbing a pair of sunglasses before heading out to enjoy the sunny days that are upon us.

And, of course, it goes without saying that LASIK and other laser vision correction procedures are a great way to avoid the cost and hassle of prescription sunglasses. If you are thinking of LASIK, St. Louis is the place to be. Dr. Jason P. Brinton is a Harvard Medical School graduate and an internationally recognized ophthalmologist. Brinton Vision offers LASIK plus all six modern variations at our St. Louis clinic. Contact us at 314.375.2020 or click here to schedule a comprehensive Brinton Vision Ocular Analysis online.