Due to measures to inform the public of the threats of Ultraviolet (UV) exposure to your skin, (particularly sunburn and skin cancer), most are aware of the importance of applying UV blocking sunscreen and using other forms of sun protection during outdoor activities. But how many are aware that UV and other harmful types of radiation from the sun are also a danger to your eyes?
If you are considering going outside without sunglasses, consider this: Extended exposure to harmful UV rays has been shown to cause damage to the eye.
UV Eye Damage
Exposure to excessive levels of ultraviolet radiation for a short amount of time is known to lead to a ''sunburn on the eye'', leading to pain, blurred vision or even temporary vision loss. In the long run, UV exposure can lead to more threatening eye diseases such as cataracts, macular degeneration, and others, all of which can be a threat to vision. Just like the real sun, tanning beds pose a serious risk of overexposure to UV.
Selecting UV Protective Sunglasses
To shield your eyes from harmful UV rays, you should look for sunglasses that block 100 percent of ultraviolet radiation. Look for sunglasses labeled ''UV 400'', which indicates that they block both UVA and UVB rays (400 refers to the wavelength of light in nanometers).
The size of your sunglasses is also important. Sunglasses with side protection can block harmful UV light from coming in through the backside of the sunglasses.
People whose daily activity involves extensive exposure to light from the sun are at the most risk for damage to their eyes. UV can be bounced off of surfaces such as snow, water, and white sand and poses the greatest threat during the midday hours and throughout the summer. Exposure to UV becomes more substantial as you get closer to the equator and at high altitudes. It's important to speak to an eye doctor and to be aware of the risks for UV exposure. Simply putting on your sunglasses can make a world of difference for your precious eyesight.