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Ultraviolet Awareness Month – The Sun and Your Eyes


Because of campaigns to create awareness of the threats of Ultraviolet (UV) radiation to your skin, (particularly sunburn and skin cancer), most are familiar with the need for using sunscreen and using other forms of sun protection during outdoor activities. But how many are aware that UV and other harmful types of radiation from the sun are also a threat to your eyes?

If you are considering leaving the house without proper eye protection, think about this: Frequent contact with the sun's UV radiation has been linked to eye damage.

Risks of UV Eye Exposure

Exposure to excessive quantities of ultraviolet radiation for a short interval is known to lead to photokeratitis meaning a ''sunburn of the eye'', leading to pain, blurred vision or even temporary blindness. In the long run, UV exposure can cause more serious eye diseases such as cataracts, macular degeneration, and others, which can be a threat to vision. Individuals that come into frequent contact with welding machines, tanning beds and lasers are also at increased risk of exposure to UV radiation.

UV Eye Protection

For sufficient ultraviolet protection, you should look for sunglasses that completely block all UV rays. Look for shades labeled ''UV 400'', which means that they prevent all UV light (400 refers to the wavelength of light in nanometers).

The size of your sunglasses is also important. Wraparound sunglasses can block dangerous ultraviolet rays from coming in through the sides and back of the frame.

It's not necessary to empty your pockets to have sufficient UV coverage, but it's essential to be certain the sunglasses give full UV defense. Many less expensive brands do offer proper defense against the threatening effects of exposure to UV light. The great news is that as well as protecting your eyes from the sun's harmful rays, trendy shades are in style, so go buy yourself a pair (or two) and let the sun shine down!