Everyone is regularly exposed to UV rays. Even though this is the case, the possible dangers of long-term exposure to these harsh rays are not often thought through, and many take little action to shield their eyes, even if they're planning to be out in the sun for many hours. Overexposure to UV is dangerous and irreversible, and may cause more than a few serious, sight-damaging diseases later on in life. And so, continuing protection from UV rays is a must for everyone.
UV radiation, which comes mostly from the sun, is made up of 2 categories of harmful rays: UVA and UVB. Even though only minimal amounts of UVA and UVB light enter the inner eye, the ocular cells are extremely receptive to the dangerous effects of their rays. Intense, short-term of exposure may result in sunburn of the eye, or photokeratitis. When the cornea receives UVB rays, the cells that make up its exterior are destroyed, which can lead to blurred vision, pain or in serious cases, temporary blindness. UVA rays can actually permeate the eye much deeper, which harms to the retina. After several years, not being protected from UV rays can lead to significant and lasting damage to eye sight. Out of the 20 million people suffering from cataracts, about 20 percent of cases are partly caused by long-term exposure to UV rays.
An ideal way to shield your eyes from UV rays is through the use of good eyewear. Be sure that your sunglasses or prescription glasses block 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays. Wearing an unsatisfactory pair of sunglasses can sometimes be worse than having no sun protection at all. Consider this: when your sunglasses offer no UV protection, you're actually getting more UV rays. Such sunglasses generally block some of the light, forcing your iris to open and let even more light in. This means that more UV will be hitting your retina. It's important to check that your sunglasses give effective protection against UV.
Make an appointment to speak with your eye care professional about all of your UV protection options, which include fixed tint sunglasses, adaptive lenses and polarized lenses.