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Quality Protection from UV Rays

Everyone is regularly exposed to UV rays. Even though this is the case, the possible dangers related to years of exposure to these unsafe rays are not often considered, to a point where most people barely take enough action to guard their eyes, even when they're planning to be out in the sun for many hours. UV overexposure is unsafe and cannot be reversed, and can also result in several serious, vision-stealing conditions in older age. This means that ongoing protection from UV rays is equally important for everybody.

There are two types of UV rays: UV-A and UV-B, both of which are harmful. Even though only tiny amounts of UVA and UVB light reach the inner eye, the eye tissue is extremely receptive to the dangerous effects of their rays. Intense, short-term of exposure may result in sunburn of the eye, also known as photokeratitis. When UVB rays enter the cornea, the outer cells are significantly damaged, which can lead to pain, blurred vision or in serious cases, even temporary blindness. UVA rays can permeate the eye much deeper, causing harm to the retina. Out of the 20 million people suffering from cataracts, an estimated 20 percent are due to extended UV exposure.

An ideal way to guard your eyes from UV rays is through the use of high quality sunglasses. Be sure that your sunglasses or regular glasses block 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays. An unsatisfactory pair of sunglasses can actually be more harmful than using no sun protection at all. Think about it this way: if sunglasses offer no protection against UV, it means you're actually getting more UV rays. Such sunglasses will block some of the light, causing your iris to open and allow more light in. This means that even more UV will reach your retina. Always check to make sure your sunglasses give enough protection against UV.

Extended exposure to UV rays can also result in an abnormal tissue growth on the eye, known as pterygium. This is a narrow, wedge-shaped tissue growth with blood vessels that grow over the white part on the surface of the eye. In addition to being aesthetically unappealing, a pterygium can irritate the eye, and can even alter the curve of the eyeball, which leads to astigmatism. If the pterygium starts to grow over the cornea, it can blur or obstruct vision and may need to be surgically removed. Because pterygia are the result of extended UV exposure and windy conditions, it is totally avoidable.

Talk to your optometrist about all the different UV protection choices, including fixed tint sunglasses, adaptive lenses and polarized lenses.