Summer Sun Exposure Can Harm Eyes and Cause Cataracts

stock images sun glassesAt Park Ophthalmology we know that Raleigh and Durham’s sunny summer days may keep the flowers growing and the grass so green, but over time, excessive exposure to sunlight can often harm eyes as well, even causing cataracts.  A cataract is a clouding of the lens of the eye. The eye’s lens is located behind the colored part (iris) of the eye. As eyes age, the lens becomes less flexible and thicker. These changes can cause tissues to break down and clump together, clouding the lens.

Seeing through cloudy lenses is much like looking through a fogged-up window. The main cause of cataracts is aging, but excessive UV radiation from our sunny summer days can be a major factor.

Cataracts account for almost 15 million blind people worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. WHO estimates about 20 percent, or 3 million, of those cases are likely caused by UV radiation from the sun’s rays.

Preventing Cataracts

There are several other risk factors for cataracts, including diabetes, excessive alcohol consumption, family history, high blood pressure, obesity and smoking. 

People here in the Triangle with these risk factors should be especially careful when heading to the beach, working in the yard or attending a baseball game. Park Ophthalmology specializes in cataract care, but prevention is often the best cure!

Follow these three guidelines to prevent sun damage to your eyes: 

  • Stay out of the sun. While some sunlight is good for the body, wear a hat and cover up while outdoors to prevent too much exposure for both skin and eyes. The shade or an umbrella are not a guarantee, but a wide-brimmed hat can significantly reduce eye exposure to UVB radiation.
  • Wear UVA/UVB protection sunglasses year-round when outside. The sunglasses must block 99% or 100% of UVB and UVA rays. Get more tips for buying the right sunglasses
  • Wear clothing that blocks or screens the sun’s rays. Combine the clothes, sunglasses and of course, sunscreen for the best eye protection. 

This summer, please call our offices and make an appointment with Beth R. Friedland MD, your Triangle Eye Specialist!  If you have any of the above risk factors, please have your eyes examined to maintain optimum eye health.


Park Ophthalmology welcomes patients from all areas of the Triangle and offers a wide variety of specialized services including surgery for diseases of the eye, vision examinations, eye safety information, sports medicine protective eyewear and counseling, contact lenses and evaluation, and all types of ocular diagnosis and treatment. Many types of surgery are available, including cataract and laser surgery. We are here for you and your eye and overall health. Give us a call today!

This article about the benefits of eye care is brought to you by the professional team atPark Ophthalmology located in the Triangle Region of North Carolina.

The information contained in this blog article is intended solely for informational purposes and is not intended to be offered as medical advice.


Park Ophthalmology

5306 NC Highway 55, Suite 102 (adjacent to the RTP/ Research Triangle Park)

Durham, NC 27713

Office: 919 544 5375

Fax: 919 544 5829


Park Ophthalmology North

6512 Six Forks Road, Suite 105

Raleigh, NC 27615

919 846 6915

Photo: stock Images,