Everyone is regularly exposed to UV rays. But the potential dangers of years of exposure to these unsafe rays aren't really thought about, and the majority of people take little action to guard their eyes, even when they're expecting to be out in the sun for long periods of time. Being exposed to too much UV is dangerous and irreversible, and can also lead to a number of serious, vision-stealing conditions down the road. And so, continuing protection from these rays is a must for everyone.
There are two types of UV rays: UV-A and UV-B, both of which are damaging. Although only tiny amounts of UVA and UVB light reach the inner eye, the eye tissue is very vulnerable to the dangerous effects of their rays. Even in the short term, small amounts of exposure can result in sunburnt eyes, also known as photokeratitis. When the cornea receives UVB rays, the outer cells are severely damaged, which can lead to blurred vision, pain or even temporary blindness. UVA rays actually permeate the eye much deeper, which harms to the retina. Out of the 20 million people with cataracts, an estimated 20 percent of cases are partly caused by long-term exposure to UV rays.
A really great way to protect your eyes from UV rays is by wearing good eyewear. Ensure that your sunglasses or regular glasses block 100% of both UVA and UVB rays. Wearing an unsatisfactory pair of sunglasses can actually be even worse than using no sun protection at all. Consider this: when your sunglasses offer no protection against UV, it means you're actually getting more UV rays. Such sunglasses generally reduce the light, forcing your iris to open and let even more light in. And this means that even more UV will hit your retina. It's important to check that your sunglasses provide effective protection against UV.
Make an appointment to speak with your optometrist about all the different UV protection choices, including fixed tint sunglasses, adaptive lenses and polarized lenses.