Virtually everyone is exposed to UV rays on a daily basis. Even though this is the case, the potential risks related to long-term exposure to these harmful rays are rarely thought about, to a point where most people take little action to shield their eyes, even if they're expecting to be out in the sun for an extended period of time. UV overexposure is dangerous and irreversible, and can also cause more than a few severe, sight-stealing diseases in older age. Therefore, ongoing protection from UV rays is vital for everyone.
There are two types of UV rays: UV-A and UV-B, and both are unsafe. Despite the fact that only tiny measures of UVA and UVB light reach the inner eye, the eye cells are incredibly vulnerable to the dangerous effects of their rays. Small amounts of this kind of exposure can easily cause sunburnt eyes, often referred to as photokeratitis. When UVB rays enter the cornea, the cells that make up its exterior are severely damaged, and this can be expressed as blurred vision, pain or even temporary blindness. UVA rays can enter the eye more deeply, causing harm to the retina.
One of the best ways to protect your eyes from UV rays is with good eyewear. Check that your sunglasses or prescription eyewear block both UVA and UVB rays completely. Wearing an insufficient pair of sunglasses can be worse than having nothing at all. Consider this: when your sunglasses don't offer any protection against UV, you're actually being exposed to more UV rays. The inadequate sunglasses will reduce the light, causing the iris to open and let more light in. And this means that more UV will be hitting the retina. Always check to make sure your sunglasses offer enough protection against UV.
A wide brimmed sunhat or cap will also block roughly fifty percent of UV rays. A brimmed hat or cap will also reduce UV rays that reach your eyes from above or around glasses.
Make an appointment to speak with your eye care professional about all the different UV protection choices, including adaptive lenses, polarized lenses and fixed tint sunglasses.