It's a fact: almost everybody is regularly exposed to UV rays. However, the possible risks related to years of exposure to these harmful rays are not often thought about, to a point where most people take little action to protect their eyes, even if they're planning to be exposed to the sun for long periods of time. Being exposed to too much UV is dangerous and irreversible, and can also lead to a number of serious, sight-damaging diseases in older age. And so, continuing protection from UV rays is equally important for everybody.
UV radiation, originating mostly from the sun, consists of 2 sorts of harmful rays: UV-A and UV-B. Although only small amounts of UVA and UVB light reach the inner eye, the ocular cells are very receptive to the dangerous effects of their rays. Intense, short-term of exposure can easily lead to sunburnt eyes, or photokeratitis. When UVB rays are absorbed by the cornea, the cells that make up its exterior are destroyed, and this can lead to blurred vision, pain or even temporary blindness. UVA rays can actually enter the eye more deeply, which causes damage to the retina. After several years, UV rays may cause considerable damage to the eyes.
An ideal way to guard your eyes from UV rays is by wearing high quality sunglasses. Check that your sunglasses or regular glasses block 100% of both UVA and UVB rays. An inadequate pair of sunglasses can be more harmful than having no sunglasses at all. Think about it this way: if sunglasses don't offer any protection against UV, you're actually getting more UV rays. Such sunglasses will block some of the light, causing the iris to open and let more light in. This means that even more UV will reach your retina. Always be sure that your sunglasses give maximum protection against UV.
A wide brimmed hat or cap will also block about half of UV rays. A brimmed hat or cap can also reduce UV rays that reach the eyes from above or around glasses.
Speak to your eye care professional about all of your UV protection options, which include fixed tint sunglasses, adaptive lenses and polarized lenses.