Most Americans are aware of the hazards of Ultraviolet (UV) rays to your skin, (such as sunburn and skin cancer) and the necessity of using sunscreen and avoiding direct contact with the sun particularly during the blazing summer months. But how many of us know that UV and other radiation from the sun also pose a risk to your eyes?
If you are considering leaving the house without sunglasses, reconsider. Prolonged contact with the sun's ultraviolet radiation has been shown to cause eye damage.
UV Eye Damage
Exposure to excessive quantities of ultraviolet radiation for a short amount of time can cause a ''sunburn on the eye'', leading to pain, blurred vision or even temporary vision loss. In the long run, UV exposure can cause more threatening eye diseases including cataracts, macular degeneration, and others, which can be a threat to vision. Just like the real thing, tanning beds present a substantial threat of overexposure to UV.
How to Choose Protective Sunglasses
To shield your eyes from harmful UV rays, sunglasses should completely block all UV rays. Stick with sunglasses 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. Wraparound sunglasses can prevent dangerous ultraviolet rays from coming in through the rear of the sunglasses.
It's not necessary to pay a lot to have enough UV protection, but you should not buy anything until you are sure the sunglasses give full UV coverage. More and more manufacturers recognize the importance of offering proper defense against the dangerous risks of exposure to sunlight. Further, in addition to protecting your eyes from the dangers of UV exposure, stylish sunglasses are at the height of fashion, so pick up a pair (or two) and let the sun shine down!