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Know the Danger that Ultraviolet Rays Pose to Your Eyes


Due to measures to increase knowledge of the threats of Ultraviolet (UV) exposure to your skin, (such as sunburn and skin cancer), most are aware of the importance of applying sunscreen and using other forms of sun protection when spending time in the sun. But how many of us know that ultraviolet rays and other harmful types of radiation from the sun are also a threat to your eyes?

If you are thinking of leaving the house without sunglasses, consider this: Continual exposure to harmful UV rays has been shown to cause eye damage.

UV Risks to Eyesight

Exposure to large levels of UV over a short amount of time is known to lead to a ''sunburn of the eye'', which results in pain, blurry vision or even temporary blindness. Long-term ultraviolet exposure can lead to more serious eye diseases such as cataracts, macular degeneration, and others, all of which can be a threat to vision. Individuals that come into frequent contact with welding machines, tanning beds and lasers are also at increased risk of exposure to UV radiation.

Selecting UV Protective Sunglasses

For sufficient ultraviolet defense, sunglasses should completely block all UV rays. Stick with sunglasses labeled ''UV 400'', which indicates that they block both UVA and UVB rays (400 refers to the wavelength of light in nanometers).

You also want to choose sunglasses with full eye coverage. Wraparound sunglasses can prevent dangerous UV light from entering from the backside of the sunglasses.

People whose regular activity involves lengthy exposure to sunlight are at greatest risk for UV eye damage. UV can be reflected from bright areas such as snow, water, and white sand and presents the greatest threat from 10 am to 3 pm and during the summer months. UV radiation levels increase as you get closer to the equator and at high altitudes. Every individual should speak to an eye care professional and to be aware of the hazards of UV exposure. The simple act of putting on your sunglasses can make a world of difference for your precious vision.