It's a fact: almost everybody is regularly exposed to UV rays. But the potential risks related to long-term exposure to these harmful rays are not often considered, to a point where the majority of people barely take enough action to guard their eyes, even when they're planning on being outside for many hours. UV overexposure is unsafe and cannot be reversed, and may result in several serious, sight-damaging diseases in older age. This means that ongoing protection from UV rays is vital for everyone.
There are two types of UV rays: UV-A and UV-B, both of which are unsafe. Although only tiny amounts of UVA and UVB light enter the inner eye, the eye tissue is incredibly receptive to the damaging effects of their rays. Small amounts of this kind of exposure can easily cause sunburn of the eye, often referred to as photokeratitis. When UVB rays are absorbed by the cornea, the outer cells are destroyed, and this can be expressed as blurred vision, pain or in serious cases, even temporary blindness. UVA rays actually enter the eye more deeply, which harms to the retina. Over a number of years, exposure to UV rays may be responsible for substantial damage to the eyes. Of the 20 million people who suffer from cataracts, about 20 percent of cases are partly caused by long-term UV exposure.
An ideal way to shield your eyes from UV rays is with good sunglasses. Check that your sunglasses or prescription eyewear block both UVA and UVB rays completely. An unsatisfactory pair of sunglasses can actually be worse than having nothing at all. Basically, if your sunglasses offer no UV protection, you're actually getting more UV rays. The inadequate sunglasses generally reduce the light, causing the iris to open and allow even more light in. And this means that even more UV will be hitting your retina. Always be sure that your sunglasses provide maximum UV protection.
A large hat or baseball cap can also block roughly fifty percent of UV rays. A brimmed hat or cap can also reduce UV rays that hit the eyes from above or around glasses.
Speak to your eye care professional about all of your UV protection choices, including, but not limited to, adaptive lenses, polarized lenses and fixed tint sunglasses.