As a result of ongoing campaigns to inform the public of the dangers of Ultraviolet (UV) exposure to your skin, (particularly sunburn and skin cancer), most are familiar with the importance of applying sunblock and avoiding direct contact with the sun when spending time in the sun. But how many are aware that ultraviolet rays and other radiation from the sun are also a risk to your eyes?
If you often go out without proper eye protection, think again. Prolonged absorption of harmful UV rays has been linked to damage to the eye.
UV Risks to Eyesight
Exposure to large levels of UV for a short amount of time is known to result in photokeratitis meaning a ''sunburn of the eye'', which results in pain, blurred vision or even temporary vision loss. Long-term UV exposure can lead to more threatening eye diseases including cataracts, macular degeneration, and others, all of which can cause vision loss. Individuals that come into frequent contact with welding machines, tanning beds and lasers are also at increased risk of exposure to UV radiation.
How to Choose Protective Sunglasses
For proper UV defense, you should select sunglasses that block 100 percent of ultraviolet radiation. Look for shades labeled ''UV 400'', which indicates that they block all light rays with wavelengths up to 400 nanometers (which includes both UVA and UVB rays, both known to enter the atmosphere).
The size of your sunglasses is also important. Wraparound sunglasses can block dangerous UV rays from entering from the rear of the sunglasses.
You don't have to empty your pockets to have sufficient UV protection, but you should not make a purchase until you are certain the sunglasses offer full solar protection. More and more manufacturers recognize the importance of offering proper UV coverage. Further, in addition to keeping your eyes safe from the sun's harmful rays, stylish sunglasses are all the rage, so go buy yourself a pair (or two) and let the sun shine down!