Although many people find a sun-kissed glow appealing, the dangers of tanning beds cannot be overstated. Not only can excessive UV exposure harm your skin, but it can also harm your eyesight. Optometrists agree that tanning beds are not approved for eye health, and the risks go beyond just eye irritation. It’s important to prioritize eye health over a tan and be aware of the risks associated with tanning beds.
The Danger of UV Rays on Your Eyes:
Tanning beds emit both UVA and UVB rays, which are harmful to the eyes, particularly in large doses. UV rays can cause cataracts, a clouding of the eye's natural lens, and damage the retina. Both conditions can result in vision loss. Additionally, UV exposure can cause pterygium, a growth on the eye, further impairing vision.
Keeping Your Eyes Closed Isn’t Enough:
Very few tanning beds have lids that close over the eyes, which means that even if you close your eyes, UV rays can still penetrate the eyelids and cause damage to the cornea and retina. While the eyelid may be able to block some of the radiation, it is not enough to prevent damage altogether.
Long-Term Impact of Tanning Beds:
The long-term effects of tanning beds are alarming. Research shows that those who frequently use tanning beds have a 50% higher risk of developing skin cancer than those who have never used a tanning bed. In addition, the same research discovered that frequent tanning bed users have a 60% higher risk of developing melanoma, which is the deadliest form of skin cancer. Moreover, there are concerns that tanning beds may also increase the risk of developing other types of cancer, including ocular melanoma.
Eye Health Matters More Than Skin Tone:
While many people find a glowing tan attractive, the risks of tanning beds should never be ignored. Optometrists urge individuals to favor eye health over aesthetics. Prioritizing eye health through wearing UV-blocking sunglasses and staying away from tanning beds can not only preserve eyesight, but it can also ensure long-term health and longevity.
Tanning beds may appear to be a quick fix for achieving an attractive glow, but the risks outweigh the benefits. It’s vital to prioritize your eye health over a tan and avoid tanning beds altogether. Instead, consider using sunless tanning products or spend more time outside (with proper protection such as sunscreen, hats and sunglasses), both of which can help to achieve a sun-kissed look. By taking care of your eyes and practicing sun safety, you can ensure your eyes are healthy for years to come. Remember, eyes are irreplaceable, so a tanned body is not worth damaging your vision.