Monthly Archives: July 2013

Anatomy of the skin around the eyes

The anatomy of the skin around the eyes, also referred to as the adnexa is unique to the face and body. In order to properly care for the skin around the eyes, it is important to understand not only the anatomy of this area, but also the process of skin cell renewal.

Eyelid skin is composed of several layers. The deepest, the subcutaneous layer contains a thin layer of fascia which lies on top of the orbicularis muscle, a muscle that allows the eyelid to move. Next, the dermis, which forms the support layer of the skin, is made up of threadlike proteins including bundles of elastin and collagen, fibroblasts, nerves and vessels. The top layer, the epidermis, is made up of basal cells, melanocytes, Langerhans cells, keratinocytes and on top, the dead cell layer (also known as the stratum corneum) made up of corneocytes. The epidermal layer gives the skin its appearance, color, suppleness, texture, and health.
Basal cells reproduce new cells every few days. As these cells migrate upward, they become drier and flatter.  Once they reach the surface of the skin, they are no longer alive, and are referred to as corneocytes. This process of migration from basal cell to corneocytes is what gives the epidermis the ability to regenerate itself. This skin renewal process is known as desquamation. Desquamation is an ongoing process that takes about two seeks in a young person, and significantly longer – about 37 days for individuals over 50. The build up of corneocytes gives skin a callous or dry, aged and thickened look. The skin feels and looks rough and its ability to retain water becomes impaired.

Harmful UV Rays

While 79% of people know that the sun causes skin cancer, only 6% know it can harm the eyes.   Are you protecting your eyes from UV at all times?

The sun does not need to feel hot to damage your skin and eyes. The damage is done by UV radiation, which is not seen or felt – so don’t be fooled by mild temperatures or cloudy days.  You still should be wearing protection on your eyes on a gray day.

The higher the altitude, the fewer UV rays are absorbed. That means there are more UV rays to damage your skin and eyes when you’re skiing, living in or visiting high-altitude regions.

The sun causes wrinkles to the delicate skin around your eyes – help protect that delicate area with a quality pair of polarized sunglasses.

UV rays can cause cataracts, macular degeneration and more.

As the damaging effects of UV rays are cumulative – extended exposure over many years can increase your risk of cataracts later in life.

Some 16 million people worldwide are currently blind as a result of cataracts; of these,  the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that as many as 20% may be due to UV radiation exposure.

Constant exposure to bright sunlight can damage the cornea, lens and retina. Make sure you are protecting your eyes at all times.

By the year 2030, twice as many people will be blind as are today. Macular degeneration will continue to be the leading cause of blindness.

Five percent of all cataract-related disease burden is directly attributable to UVR exposure