Which eye colour is more vulnerable to UV damage?

Did you know that the colour of an individual’s eyes plays a role in them getting damaged by UV rays? Light-coloured eyes — including hazel, green and blue eyes — are much more prone to UV damage and diseases related to UV exposure.

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According to Dr Ashi Khurana, Vice Chairman, C L Gupta Eye Institute, Moradabad, “Melanocytes are the cells in the iris that make pigments (melanin) and are also responsible for the colour of skin and hair. Just a couple of pigments and a bunch of collagens can create a huge array of eye colours. Genes contribute to the whole range of spectrum of colours in the human eye.”

“When in contact with ultraviolet rays, especially light, eye colours have chances of developing phototoxicity and dry eye, whereas darker iris are associated with earlier onset of cataracts. Blue or light colour iris have less contrast vision during glare conditions like night driving,” she added.

Ultraviolet rays are associated with skin cancers comprising squamous cell carcinomas, cutaneous melanoma, and basal cell carcinomas. Among these, squamous cell carcinomas are not just applicable to the skin but also to the conjunctiva and it attacks the cornea as well as the inside of the eyethe expert explained.

Eye damage due to UV rays Eyes are very sensitive and need good care and protection. (Source: Pixabay)

The expert added, Progression of myopia may be related to blue light or ultraviolet exposure on screen but paradoxically the myopia progression reduces by outdoor sunlight exposure. “The darker iris has been associated with more myopia.”

Tips to protect vision/eyes:

-Wear good quality sunglasses with UV protection while going out

-Don’t look at the sun for too long

-Undertake regular eye examinations to safeguard their vision and seek relevant treatment

Dr Rishi Raj Borah, Country Director for Orbis India said, “Wearing poor quality sunglasses can dilate the pupils and if there is no UV protection, there may be more transmission of harmful UV rays to the lens and retina”.

(Inputs by Shweta Sandilya)

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