Virtually everyone is exposed to UV rays on a daily basis. But the potential dangers related to many years of exposure to these unsafe rays aren't really considered, and many take little action to guard their eyes, even when they're planning to be out in the sun for many hours. Overexposure to UV is dangerous and irreversible, and may lead to a number of serious, vision-stealing conditions later on in life. Therefore, ongoing protection from these rays is a must for everyone.
There are two types of UV rays: UV-A and UV-B, both of which are harmful. Although only minimal measures of UVA and UVB light hit the inner eye, the ocular tissue is incredibly receptive to the damaging effects of their rays. Even in the short term, small amounts of exposure can lead to sunburn of the eye, also known as photokeratitis. When UVB rays are absorbed by the cornea, the surrounding cells are significantly damaged, and this can be expressed as blurred vision, pain or temporary blindness. UVA rays actually permeate the eye much deeper, causing harm to the retina. Out of the 20 million people with cataracts, about 20 percent of cases are caused by extended exposure to UV rays.
One of the best ways to guard your eyes from UV rays is by wearing quality sunglasses. Check that your sunglasses or regular glasses block 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays. Wearing an insufficient pair of sunglasses can sometimes be more harmful than wearing nothing at all. Consider this: when sunglasses don't offer any UV protection, it means you're actually increasing your exposure to UV rays. Sunglasses that are inadequate generally reduce the light, which causes your iris to open and allow even more light in. And this means that even more UV will reach the retina. Always be sure that your sunglasses provide maximum protection against UV.
Make an appointment to speak with your eye care professional about the various UV protection options, which include adaptive lenses, polarized lenses and fixed tint sunglasses.