The majority of Americans are familiar with the hazards of Ultraviolet (UV) radiation to your skin, (such as sunburn and skin cancer) and the necessity of using UV blocking sunscreen and avoiding direct contact with the sun during outdoor activities. What is less known is that UV and other types of radiation from the sun can also cause severe damage to your eyes.
If you often go out without proper eye protection, think again. Continual contact with harmful UV light has been seen to be a cause of damage to the eye.
UV Risks to Eyesight
Excessive short term exposure to UV is known to cause photokeratitis which means a ''sunburn of the eye'', leading to pain, blurry vision or even temporary vision loss. Long-term UV exposure can result in more threatening eye diseases including cataracts, macular degeneration, and others, which can cause loss of sight. Just like the real thing, tanning beds pose a serious threat of overexposure to UV.
Selecting UV Protective Sunglasses
To shield your eyes from harmful UV rays, you should be careful to select sunglasses that completely block all UV rays. Look for sunglasses that specify they are ''UV 400'', which means 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. Sunglasses with side protection can prevent harmful UV rays from coming in through the rear of the sunglasses.
You don't have to empty your pockets to have enough UV coverage, but you should not buy anything unless you are sure the sunglasses give full UV coverage. Many less-exclusive brands do offer proper defense from the harmful risks of exposure to UV light. Further, in addition to keeping your eyes protected from the sun's harmful rays, trendy sunglasses are all the rage, so find something you love and have fun in the sun!