Most Americans are familiar with the hazards of Ultraviolet (UV) light to your skin, (such as sunburn and skin cancer) and the necessity of using sunblock and using other forms of sun protection during outdoor activities. But did you know that ultraviolet rays and other harmful types of radiation from the sun are also a danger to your eyes?
If you often leave the house without sunglasses, reconsider. Continual absorption of the sun's ultraviolet radiation has been seen to be a cause of damage to the eye.
UV Eye Damage
Excessive short term exposure to UV is known to result in photokeratitis meaning a ''sunburn of the eye'', which results in pain, blurred vision or even temporary blindness. Long-term UV exposure can result in more serious eye diseases such as cataracts, macular degeneration, and others, which can cause loss of sight. Just like the real sun, tanning beds present a serious risk of overexposure to UV.
Selecting UV Protective Sunglasses
To shield your eyes from harmful UV rays, you should select sunglasses that completely block all UV rays. Look for shades that specify they are ''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).
The size of your sunglasses is also important. Sunglasses with side protection can block dangerous UV light from coming in through the backside of the sunglasses.
You don't have to spend a lot of money on your sunglasses to have proper UV defense, but you should not make a purchase unless you are sure the sunglasses give full UV defense. More and more manufacturers recognize the importance of offering proper UV defense. The great news is that as well as keeping your eyes safe from the harmful sunlight, stylish sunglasses are at the height of fashion, so find something you love and have fun in the sun!