Everyone is regularly exposed to UV rays. Even though this is the case, the possible dangers of long-term exposure to these unsafe rays are rarely thought through, to a point where the majority of people barely take enough action to guard their eyes, even when they're expecting to be out in the sun for long periods of time. Overexposure to UV is unsafe and cannot be reversed, and may lead to a number of severe, sight-damaging diseases down the road. Therefore, ongoing protection from these rays is a must for everyone.
UV radiation, originating mostly from the sun, is made up of two types of damaging rays: UVA and UVB. Even though only small measures of UVA and UVB light reach the inner eye, the eye cells are extremely susceptible to the damaging effects of their rays. Even in the short term, small amounts of exposure can easily cause sunburnt eyes, also known as photokeratitis. When the cornea receives UVB rays, the surrounding cells are severely damaged, which can lead to blurred vision, pain or in serious cases, even temporary blindness. UVA rays can actually enter the eye more deeply, causing harm to the retina. After several years, not being protected from UV rays may be responsible for significant and lasting damage to eye sight. Out of the 20 million people with cataracts, an estimated 20 percent are due to extended UV exposure.
One of the best ways to protect your eyes from UV rays is with quality sunglasses. Be sure that your sunglasses or prescription glasses block both UVA and UVB rays completely. An insufficient pair of sunglasses can be more harmful than wearing no sunglasses at all. Consider this: when sunglasses offer no protection against UV, it means you're actually being exposed to more UV rays. The inadequate sunglasses generally reduce the light, which causes the iris to open and let more light in. This means that more UV will hit your retina. It's important to check that your sunglasses offer maximum UV protection.
Talk to your eye care professional about all of your UV protection options, including adaptive lenses, polarized lenses and fixed tint sunglasses.