As a result of ongoing measures to inform the public of the hazards of Ultraviolet (UV) radiation to your skin, (such as sunburn and skin cancer), most are familiar with the necessity of applying UV blocking sunscreen and using other forms of sun protection during outdoor activities. But how many of us know that ultraviolet rays and other radiation from the sun are also a threat to your eyes?
If you tend to face the sun without proper eye protection, consider this: Extended exposure to harmful UV rays has been linked to damage to the eye.
UV Eye Damage
Intense short term exposure to UV can cause a ''sunburn on the eye'', which results in pain, blurry vision or even temporary vision loss. In the long run, UV exposure can cause more threatening eye diseases including cataracts, macular degeneration, and others, all of which can cause loss of sight. Just like the real sun, tanning beds present a serious risk of overexposure to UV.
UV Eye Protection
For effective ultraviolet protection, sunglasses should completely block all UV rays. Stick with shades that specify they are ''UV 400'', which means that they block all light rays with wavelengths up to 400 nanometers (which includes both UVA and UVB rays, both known to enter the atmosphere).
You also want to choose sunglasses with full eye coverage. Wraparound sunglasses can prevent dangerous UV rays from entering from the rear of the sunglasses.
People whose work or recreation involves extensive exposure to sunlight are at the highest risk for damage to their eyes. UV can be reflected from areas such as snow, water, and white sand and poses the greatest threat during the midday hours and during the summer. Exposure to UV becomes more substantial as you get closer to the equator and at high altitudes. Every individual should speak to an eye care professional and to know the hazards of UV exposure. The simple act of putting on your sunglasses can be the key to preserving your precious vision.