The majority of Americans are aware of the hazards of Ultraviolet (UV) radiation to your skin, (including sunburn and skin cancer) and the necessity of using UV blocking sunscreen and avoiding direct contact with the sun particularly during the blazing summer months. But how many of us know that UV and other harmful types of radiation from the sun are also a threat to your eyes?
If you often go out without proper eye protection, consider this: Frequent exposure to the sun's UV light has been linked to damage to the eye.
UV Eye Damage
Intense short term exposure to UV is known to lead to photokeratitis meaning a ''sunburn on the eye'', leading to pain, blurry vision or even temporary blindness. Long-term ultraviolet exposure can cause more threatening eye diseases including cataracts, macular degeneration, and others, all of which can cause loss of sight. Just like the real thing, tanning beds pose a substantial threat of overexposure to UV.
UV Eye Protection
For proper ultraviolet defense, sunglasses should completely block all UV rays. Stick with shades 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 block harmful ultraviolet light from entering from the sides and back of the frame.
It's not necessary to spend a lot of money on your sunglasses to have enough UV protection, but it's essential to be certain the sunglasses offer complete solar coverage. More and more manufacturers recognize the importance of offering proper defense against the harmful risks of exposure to UV light. The great news is that in addition to keeping your eyes protected from the hazards of UV exposure, trendy shades are all the rage, so go buy yourself a pair (or two) and let the sun shine down!