Aside from being a popular fashion accessory, sunglasses are also one of the most commonly known ways to protect your eyes from UV rays. That said, people all over America are still at huge risk of being diagnosed with UV-related eye disease. The sun is a powerful force; unfortunately, our eyes are delicate.

While it’s impossible to completely eliminate your risk of developing certain eye conditions, managing your exposure to the sun and overall eye health can greatly reduce your risks. Luckily, our retina specialists in Venice, Florida, have the answers you need to protect your eyes from UV damage.

Firstly, can your eye doctors in Venice, FL tell me what UV rays are?

Even though we’ve all heard the term ‘UV rays’, many people are still unsure about what they are. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines Ultraviolet (UV) radiation as “a form of non-ionizing radiation that is emitted by the sun and artificial sources, such as tanning beds.” Sounds complicated, right? Essentially UV rays are a form of light the human eye can’t detect but are very much there.

Despite having some benefits (the main one being the production of Vitamin D in our bodies), UV rays can be hazardous to your health. Even though everyone is at risk of health complications from overexposure to UV rays, those at a higher risk include:

  • People who spend a lot of time outdoors
  • Those with light-color skin, hair, and eyes
  • People with a family member who has had skin cancer
  • Those over the age of 50

Can our ophthalmologists in Venice, FL, tell you what eye diseases UV rays can cause?

UV rays can lead to a number of different eye-related conditions. Thankfully, your ophthalmologist will be familiar with all of them. Just some of the most common eye conditions we treat in patients exposed to UV rays include:

  • Macular degeneration
  • Cataracts
  • Eye cancer
  • Growths in or around the eyes
  • Photokeratitis (or ‘Ultraviolet Keratitis’)
  • Sunburnt eyes and/or lids

Particularly when it comes to conditions such as macular degeneration, our retina specialists in Venice, Florida, will work extremely quickly to find the best treatment for you. As with most retinal conditions, early detection allows for a broader range of treatment options. The sooner we know there’s a problem, the more support we can offer.

How can I protect my eyes from UV rays?

As eye doctors based in Florida, we see a lot of patients coming to us suffering from UV-related eye conditions. On some occasions, our patients are surprised to hear that the damage to their eyes may be related to the sun. This is usually because as avid wearers of sunglasses, they believe they are fully protected from UV rays.

In reality, sunglasses with UV protection are only one step in protecting your eyes against UV rays. As retina specialists in the Florida area, we recommend:

1. Always check the UV protection of your sunglasses

While it’s true that sunglasses can offer a certain level of protection against UV rays, not all sunglasses are equal. Ideally, you should aim to only wear sunglasses with 100% UV protection that cover a large portion of your eye area e.g., wraparound glasses.

The reliability of claims about UV protection will always need to come down to independent research. A ‘UV protection’ sticker doesn’t always mean you can trust a pair of sunglasses.

Tip: Always ask about UV protection when purchasing new frames for prescription sunglasses. Otherwise, look out for sunglasses brands that make a point of detailing their UV protection in their product descriptions and accompanying booklets. Good manufacturers want to talk about UV protection on more than just a sticker!

2. Be aware that sun hats aren’t just for protecting your head

If you enjoy being in the sun, it’s good to know that a hat isn’t just for protecting your head. As retina experts, we understand how sensitive your eyes are to damage; this is why providing them with as much shade as possible (especially outdoors) is essential.

Always choose a hat with a wide brim that offers as much coverage as possible. And remember, protecting your eyes from the sun is much more important than making a fashion statement!

3. Monitor UV index forecasts

UV rays aren’t only present on sunny days. Even on cloudy days, exposure to UV rays can still be an issue. This is why monitoring UV levels is essential. As well as local news announcements, dedicated websites can be used to check the UV index of certain cities in the US and abroad.

4. Scheduling regular appointments with your ophthalmologist

One of the best ways to protect your eyes against the risks associated with UV exposure is to attend regular checkups with a retina specialist. Because ophthalmologists train for an average of 12 years in medical and surgical treatment, we’re highly qualified in identifying and treating the signs of UV exposure.

When it comes to conditions such as macular degeneration, early detection will be vital for ensuring you have a wide variety of treatment options. This is why it’s important to see an eye doctor regularly, even if you’re not showing symptoms of any particular condition.

How can your eye clinic in Venice, FL, treat damage from UV rays?

For relieving the symptoms of UV damage and treating other non-sun related conditions, our Venice Retina ophthalmologists are able to offer:

  • Advanced ocular diagnostics and imaging
  • Eye surgery (such as vitrectomy and eye tumor treatmentscleral buckle)
  • Retinal laser therapy
  • A robust referral network of Florida cataract surgeons and ocular oncologists

While most of our procedures can be carried out in our Venice eye clinic, on some occasions, we may need to conduct outpatient surgery in a hospital environment. Our eye doctors in Venice Retina can tell you more about this after a consultation, but rest assured, you will always receive the best eye care in Florida from our specialists.

How can I schedule an appointment to check my UV ray exposure?

At Venice Retina, we’re always happy to meet new patients and carry out full eye health checks. If you’ve never visited an ophthalmologist before, there’s never been a better time!

During an eye exam, our retina experts will check for any signs of retinal degeneration, as well as looking out for potential damage caused by the sun, age, hereditary factors, or other health conditions.

Regular eye exams allow your eye doctor to build a better picture of your overall eye health. Everyone is at risk of developing eye conditions and diseases, so booking an appointment as soon as possible is the best way to lower these risks.

To get in touch and schedule a consultation, there are several ways to contact us on our website. You can also call us on 941-202-1900 if you’d like to speak directly to our eye clinic in Venice, Florida.

We also have offices in Sarasota and Manatee County, so don’t hesitate to contact the eye clinic closest to you!

About the Author: Venice Retina
Venice Retina is an ophthalmology clinic that specializes in retina care, in Venice Florida. Founded by Dr. Anita Shane (view on, Venice Retina specializes in the treatment of most retinal issues, including macular degeneration (including eye injections), floaters and flashes, retinal detachments, and more. If you have an issue with your retina, and you in Venice, Englewood, North Port or other nearby areas of Southwest Florida, please contact us today to get the retina help that you need from our experienced ophthalmologists.

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