Cataracts and Ultraviolet Light

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Topic Overview

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation, such as sunlight, is absorbed by the lens of the eye. It can cause chemicals called free radicals to form inside the lens. Over time, free radicals may damage the lens. This can cause cataracts.

Some people are exposed to too much sunlight and may be more likely to form cataracts. This can be because of their profession, such as agricultural workers. It may be because of where they live, such as in sunny parts of the country. Or it may be because they use tanning booths or sunlamps.

It is not known for sure whether reducing UV exposure helps prevent cataracts.

Related Information


ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerKathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerCarol L. Karp, MD - Ophthalmology

Current as ofAugust 21, 2015

Current as of: August 21, 2015