By now, most Americans are aware of the dangers of Ultraviolet (UV) exposure to your skin, (particularly sunburn and skin cancer) and the necessity of using sunscreen and avoiding direct contact with the sun particularly during the blazing summer months. What is less known is that UV and other harmful types of radiation from the sun are also a risk to your eyes.
If you are thinking of going outside without sunglasses, think again. Extended exposure to harmful ultraviolet rays has been linked to eye damage.
UV Eye Damage
Exposure to excessive amounts of ultraviolet radiation over a short interval can lead to a ''sunburn of the eye'', leading to pain, blurry vision or even temporary vision loss. In the long run, UV exposure can cause more serious eye diseases including cataracts, macular degeneration, and others, which can be a threat to vision. Those who use welding machines, tanning beds and lasers are also at increased risk of exposure to UV radiation.
UV Eye Protection
For sufficient UV protection, sunglasses should keep out 100 percent of UV light. Stick with shades that specify they are ''UV 400'', which means 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 prevent dangerous UV rays from entering from the backside of the sunglasses.
You don't have to spend a lot of money on your sunglasses to have sufficient UV coverage, but it's essential to be certain the sunglasses offer complete UV protection. Many less expensive brands do offer proper UV coverage. The great news is that in addition to keeping your eyes safe from the sun's harmful rays, trendy sunglasses are all the rage, so find something you love and have fun in the sun!