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May is Ultraviolet Awareness Month


Because of measures to inform the public of the dangers of Ultraviolet (UV) exposure to your skin, (including sunburn and skin cancer), most know about the need for applying sunblock 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 also pose a risk to your eyes.

If you tend to go out without sunglasses, think about this: Continual absorption of the sun's UV radiation has been shown to cause damage to the eye.

UV Eye Damage

Exposure to large quantities of UV over a short amount of time can cause a ''sunburn of the eye'', leading to pain, blurry vision or even temporary blindness. In the long run, UV exposure can result in more threatening eye diseases including cataracts, macular degeneration, and others, all of which can be a threat to vision. Just like the real sun, tanning beds pose a serious threat of overexposure to UV.

Selecting UV Protective Sunglasses

To protect your eyes from threatening UV rays, sunglasses should block 100 percent of UV light. 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).

You also want to choose sunglasses with full eye coverage. Sunglasses with side protection can prevent dangerous UV rays from entering from the backside of the sunglasses.

It's not necessary to empty your pockets to have sufficient UV protection, but it's essential to be certain the sunglasses offer complete UV protection. Many less expensive brands do offer proper UV defense. Further, as well as keeping your eyes safe from the risks of UV exposure, trendy shades are all the rage, so find something you love and have fun in the sun!