Because of measures to create awareness of the threats of Ultraviolet (UV) rays to your skin, (which include sunburn and skin cancer), most know about the need for applying sunscreen and avoiding direct contact with the sun particularly during the blazing summer months. What is less known is that UV and other harmful types of radiation from the sun can also cause severe damage to your eyes.
If you are thinking of leaving the house without sunglasses, think again. Frequent exposure to the sun's UV rays has been seen to be a cause of damage to the eye.
Risks of UV Eye Exposure
Intense UV exposure over a short amount of time is known to result in a ''sunburn on the eye'', leading to pain, blurred vision or even temporary blindness. In the long run, UV exposure can result in more threatening eye diseases such as cataracts, macular degeneration, and others, all of which can cause loss of sight. Individuals that come into frequent contact with welding machines, tanning beds and lasers are also at heightened risk of exposure to UV radiation.
How to Choose Protective Sunglasses
For effective ultraviolet defense, you should only purchase sunglasses that completely block all UV rays. Stick with shades that specify they are ''UV 400'', which indicates that they block all UV light (400 refers to the wavelength of light in nanometers).
The size of your sunglasses is also important. Wraparound sunglasses can block harmful UV rays from coming in through the sides and back of the frame.
Individuals whose work or recreation involves extensive exposure to light from the sun are at the most risk for UV eye damage. Ultraviolet radiation can be reflected from bright surfaces such as snow, water, and white sand and presents the greatest threat from 10 am to 3 pm and throughout the summer. Exposure to UV becomes more substantial as you get closer to the equator and at high altitudes. It's important to consult with an eye care professional and to be aware of the risks for UV exposure. Simply putting on your sunglasses can be the answer to protecting your precious eyesight.