Although most Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is absorbed by the front of the eye, some penetrates to the back. As well as UV, High Energy Visible (blue) light penetrates all the way to the back of the eye, and can cause damage to the macula, speeding up the process of macular degeneration. Macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in the United States among those age 60 and older.
The macula is the darkly pigmented part of the retina (back of the eye) containing the visual receptors that provide you with clear and sharp vision. Macular degeneration is a disease that affects your central vision. As the macula ages and becomes damaged, central vision loss occurs.
Image above: Simulation of central vision loss due to macular degeneration
UV and blue light are believed to damage the cells in the macula through a process called photo-oxidation, speeding up the process of macular degeneration. Studies have shown that many individuals with macular degeneration have had a greater amount of UV exposure in their lifetime.
There is currently no cure for macular degeneration. Those suffering from macular degeneration may receive intravitreal injections to slow down the disease process. If central vision is lost, Low Vision training may help retrain the eye to use the peripheral (side) vision that remains.