Could the package holiday boom be to blame for EYE problems? Surgeon blames rise in cataracts on too much sunshine

  • Mr Milind Pande a surgeon from the Vision Surgery and Research Centre
  • Warns of a rise in eye problems cause by too much exposure to UV rays
  • Includes cataracts, clouding of the lens, and photokeratitis, a burned eye
  • Also warns of pterygium and pinguecula - growths forming on the eyes 

The rise of cheap package holidays may be to blame for the increase in cataracts and other eye diseases, a leading surgeon has warned.

Adults over 50 who grew up during the golden age of package holidays – and also enjoyed the boom in outdoor pursuits like skiing - may now be paying the price for all that sunshine, he said.

Mr Milind Pande, of the Vision Surgery and Research Centre, Yorkshire, said clinics are seeing a rise in the number of older adults being treated for eye-related problems caused by too much exposure to UV rays.

The rise of cheap package holidays may be to blame for the increase in cataracts and other eye diseases, a leading surgeon has warned

The rise of cheap package holidays may be to blame for the increase in cataracts and other eye diseases, a leading surgeon has warned

These include cataracts, a clouding of the lens inside the eye, which is the most common cause of blindness worldwide and is usually treated with surgery.

He also warned of a rise in photokeratitis, a painful condition where the cornea has suffered sunburn.

The rise in other eye conditions, including pterygium – the growth of tissue on the white of the eye - and pinguecula - a condition characterised by a growth found on the side of the eye nearest the nose - could also be caused by too much sun exposure, he said.

Mr Pande, a leading cataract specialist, said years of sunshine holidays and ski trips without adequate eye protection can build up over the years.

He said: 'The effects of UV radiation are cumulative and may increase the chance of developing eye problems, including cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.

'These are two leading causes of reduced vision in people over the age of 55.'

He added: 'UV radiation can play a contributory role in the development of various eye-related disorders.

Cataracts, a clouding of the lens inside the eye, can be caused by over-exposure to UV rays. Caratacts are the most common cause of blindness worldwide (file photo)

Cataracts, a clouding of the lens inside the eye, can be caused by over-exposure to UV rays. Caratacts are the most common cause of blindness worldwide (file photo)

'This is why we should take such care with our eyes in the sun.'

Wearing sunglasses is the easiest and best way to avoid developing UV-related eye illnesses, Mr Pande said. 

The news comes after the British Association of Dermatologists gave a stark warning on how too much time in the sun can lead to skin cancer.

Becoming sunburnt once in two years doubles the odds of skin cancer, it said.

Many people are ‘burying their heads in the sand’ over the threat posed by the disease, it added.