Light damage to the eye

J Fla Med Assoc. 1994 Apr;81(4):248-51.


The effects of light on the eye are being increasingly recognized. In addition to visible radiation, we are constantly exposed to infrared and ultraviolet radiation throughout life. Acute light damage such as sunburn of eyelids, photokeratitis and solar retinopathy are well recognized and fairly obvious. The effects of chronic light exposure have been more controversial. Recent epidemiologic studies are showing an association between long-term sunlight exposure and ocular diseases such as cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, pterygium and climatic droplet keratopathy. Furthermore, the role of photosensitizers contributing to light-induced ocular damage needs to be kept in mind. The ocular hazard from photosensitizing drugs and sunlight in general is greatest in aphakic eyes that have lost their natural ultraviolet filter (the ocular lens) and in young children, whose own lenses readily transmit ultraviolet light. At present, there is enough evidence to assume that chronic sunlight exposure contributes to ocular disease and to institute preventive measures.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Eye / radiation effects*
  • Humans
  • Light / adverse effects*
  • Radiation Injuries / etiology*
  • Radiation Injuries / prevention & control