It's a fact: almost everybody is regularly exposed to UV rays. But the risks of years of exposure to these harsh rays aren't really considered, and most people barely take enough action to shield their eyes, even if they're expecting on being outside for long periods of time. UV overexposure is dangerous and cannot be reversed, and may cause several serious, vision-stealing conditions later on in life. This means that ongoing protection from UV rays is equally important for everybody.
UV radiation, which originates mostly from the sun, is made up of two categories of harmful rays: UVA and UVB. Although only small amounts of UVA and UVB light hit the inner eye, the eye tissue is extremely susceptible to the harmful effects of their rays. Small amounts of this kind of exposure can easily lead to sunburnt eyes, or photokeratitis. When UVB rays are absorbed by the cornea, the surrounding cells are destroyed, which can be expressed as pain, blurred vision or temporary blindness. UVA rays can penetrate much deeper into the eye, which harms to the retina. Of the 20 million people with cataracts, an estimated 20 percent of cases are caused by long-term exposure to UV rays.
An ideal way to protect your eyes from UV rays is with good sunglasses. Ensure that your sunglasses or regular eyewear block 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays. An insufficient pair of sunglasses can sometimes be even worse than having nothing at all. Think about it this way: when sunglasses don't offer any UV protection, it means you're actually being exposed to more UV rays. Sunglasses that are inadequate generally reduce the light, which causes your iris to open and allow more light in. This means that more UV will be hitting your retina. Always check to make sure your sunglasses offer enough UV protection.
Make an appointment to speak with your eye care professional about all the different UV protection choices, including, but not limited to, adaptive lenses, polarized lenses and fixed tint sunglasses.