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Protecting Yourself from UV Rays

It's a fact: almost everybody is regularly exposed to UV rays. But the possible risks related to many years of exposure to these harmful rays are rarely considered, and the majority of people take little action to guard their eyes, even when they're expecting on being exposed to the sun for many hours. Overexposure to UV is dangerous and irreversible, and can cause more than a few severe, sight-damaging diseases later on in life. Therefore, ongoing protection from UV rays is equally important for everybody.

There are two types of UV rays: UV-A and UV-B, both of which are unsafe. Although only small measures of UVA and UVB light enter the inner eye, the ocular cells are incredibly vulnerable to the damaging 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 significantly damaged, which can lead to pain, blurred vision or temporary blindness. UVA rays actually enter the eye more deeply, which harms to the retina. Over a number of years, exposure to UV rays can be responsible for substantial damage to the eyes and vision. Out of the 20 million people who suffer from cataracts, about 20 percent are due to extended UV exposure.

One of the best ways to guard your eyes from UV rays is by wearing quality eyewear. Be sure that your sunglasses or prescription eyewear block both UVA and UVB rays completely. Wearing an insufficient pair of sunglasses can be even worse than wearing no sunglasses at all. Consider this: when sunglasses offer no UV protection, you are actually being exposed to more UV rays. Sunglasses that are inadequate generally reduce the light, which causes your iris to open and allow even more light in. This means that even more UV will hit the retina. Always check to make sure your sunglasses give enough UV protection.


Talk to your optometrist about the various UV protection options, which include adaptive lenses, polarized lenses and fixed tint sunglasses.