Virtually everyone is exposed to UV rays on a daily basis. However, the possible dangers of many years of exposure to these harsh rays are not often 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 outside for long periods of time. Overexposure to UV is unsafe and irreversible, and can also cause more than a few serious, sight-stealing diseases in older age. And so, continuing protection from UV rays is extremely important.
There are two types of UV rays: UVA and UVB, both of which are unsafe. Despite the fact that only minimal measures of UVA and UVB light reach the inner eye, the ocular tissue is very vulnerable to the dangerous effects of their rays. Small amounts of this kind of exposure can easily result in sunburnt eyes, often referred to as photokeratitis. When UVB rays are absorbed by the cornea, the outer cells are destroyed, which can cause pain, blurred vision or even temporary blindness. UVA rays actually penetrate much deeper into the eye, causing harm to the retina. Of the 20 million people suffering from cataracts, about 20 percent of cases are partly caused by extended 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 prescription glasses block 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays. An inadequate pair of sunglasses can be even worse than wearing no sun protection at all. Think about it this way: when sunglasses offer no UV protection, it means you're actually increasing your exposure to UV rays. Such sunglasses tend to reduce the light, forcing your iris to open and let even more light in. And this means that even more UV will reach the retina. Always be sure that your sunglasses offer enough UV protection.
Make an appointment to speak with your optometrist about all the different UV protection options, which include adaptive lenses, polarized lenses and fixed tint sunglasses.