Virtually everyone is exposed to UV rays on a daily basis. But the dangers related to long-term exposure to these harmful rays are rarely considered, to a point where the majority of people take little action to guard their eyes, even when they're expecting to be exposed to the sun for many hours. Overexposure to UV is dangerous and cannot be reversed, and can also cause more than a few serious, sight-stealing diseases later on in life. Therefore, ongoing protection from UV rays is equally important for everybody.
UV radiation, which comes mostly from the sun, is made up of 2 types of harmful rays: UVA and UVB. Even though only minimal measures of UVA and UVB light enter the inner eye, the eye cells are incredibly susceptible to the damaging effects of their rays. Small amounts of this kind of exposure can result in sunburn of the eye, also known as photokeratitis. When UVB rays are absorbed by the cornea, the surrounding cells are significantly damaged, which can be expressed as pain, blurred vision or even temporary blindness. UVA rays can actually enter the eye more deeply, causing harm to the retina. Of the 20 million people suffering from cataracts, about 20 percent of cases are due to extended UV exposure.
A really great way to protect your eyes from UV rays is through the use of high quality sunglasses. 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 more harmful than having nothing at all. Basically, when sunglasses don't offer any UV protection, you are actually increasing your exposure to UV rays. Such sunglasses will block some of the light, forcing the iris to open and let more light in. And this means that more UV will reach the retina. Always check to make sure your sunglasses provide maximum UV protection.
Wearing a broad brimmed hat or baseball cap can also block roughly fifty percent of UV rays. These hats will also reduce UV rays hitting your eyes from above or around glasses.
Make an appointment to speak with your eye care professional about the various UV protection choices, which include adaptive lenses, polarized lenses and fixed tint sunglasses.