Virtually everyone is exposed to UV rays on a daily basis. But the dangers of many years of exposure to these harmful rays aren't really thought through, and the majority of people take little action to protect their eyes, even when they're expecting on being outside for an extended period of time. Being exposed to too much UV is unsafe and cannot be reversed, and can result in more than a few severe, vision-stealing conditions in older age. Therefore, ongoing protection from UV rays is vital for everyone.
There are two types of UV rays: UV-A and UV-B, both of which are unsafe. Although only minimal amounts of UVA and UVB light enter the inner eye, the eye cells are incredibly receptive to the dangerous effects of their rays. Intense, short-term of exposure can result in sunburn of the eye, also known as photokeratitis. When UVB rays enter the cornea, the cells that make up its exterior are severely damaged, which can be expressed as pain, blurred vision or temporary blindness. UVA rays actually enter the eye more deeply, which harms to the retina. After several years, exposure to UV rays may be responsible for significant and lasting damage to the eyes.
An ideal way to guard your eyes from UV rays is through the use of high quality eyewear. Check that your sunglasses or prescription glasses block 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays. An unsatisfactory pair of sunglasses can actually be worse than using no sun protection at all. Basically, if your sunglasses offer no protection against UV, you are actually being exposed to more UV rays. The inadequate sunglasses tend to reduce the light, causing the iris to open and let even more light in. This means that more UV will reach the retina. Always be sure that your sunglasses provide enough UV protection.
Going out in a large sunhat or cap will also protect you from about half of UV rays. These hats may also reduce UV rays that hit your eyes from above or around glasses.
Make an appointment to speak with your eye care professional about all of your UV protection choices, including, but not limited to, adaptive lenses, polarized lenses and fixed tint sunglasses.