It's a fact: almost everybody is regularly exposed to UV rays. Even though this is the case, the risks related to years of exposure to these harmful rays are rarely thought about, to a point where most people take little action to guard their eyes, even if they're planning to be exposed to the sun for an extended period of time. Overexposure to UV is dangerous and irreversible, and may also lead to several serious, vision-stealing conditions later on in life. And so, continuing protection from UV rays is equally important for everybody.
UV radiation, which originates mostly from the sun, is made up of two types of harmful rays: UV-A and UV-B. Even though only tiny amounts of UVA and UVB light reach the inner eye, the ocular tissue is extremely vulnerable to the dangerous effects of their rays. Small amounts of this kind of exposure can lead to sunburn of the eye, or photokeratitis. When the cornea receives UVB rays, the surrounding cells are significantly damaged, and this can lead to pain, blurred vision or temporary blindness. UVA rays can actually permeate the eye much deeper, causing harm to the retina. After several years, UV rays can cause considerable damage to the eyes and vision. Out of the 20 million people who suffer from cataracts, an estimated 20 percent of cases are partly caused by long-term exposure to UV rays.
An ideal way to guard your eyes from UV rays is by wearing high quality sunglasses. Check that your sunglasses or regular glasses block 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays. Wearing an inadequate pair of sunglasses can sometimes be worse than using no sunglasses at all. Consider this: if sunglasses don't give you any UV protection, you're actually being exposed to more UV rays. Sunglasses that are inadequate generally block some of the light, forcing the iris to open and let even more light in. This means that even more UV will hit your retina. Always check to make sure your sunglasses provide effective protection against UV.
Make an appointment to speak with your eye care professional about all the different UV protection choices, including fixed tint sunglasses, adaptive lenses and polarized lenses.