It's a fact: almost everybody is regularly exposed to UV rays. But the dangers of many years of exposure to these harsh rays are rarely considered, to a point where most people take little action to protect their eyes, even if they're expecting on being outside for many hours. Overexposure to UV is unsafe and cannot be reversed, and may also lead to more than a few severe, sight-stealing diseases down the road. This means that ongoing protection from these rays is equally important for everybody.
UV radiation, which comes mostly from the sun, is made up of 2 categories of damaging rays: UVA and UVB. Although only minimal amounts of UVA and UVB light reach the inner eye, the eye 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 the cornea receives UVB rays, the cells that make up its exterior are destroyed, which can lead to pain, blurred vision or temporary blindness. UVA rays can penetrate much deeper into the eye, which causes damage to the retina. Over time, being exposed to UV rays may cause significant damage to the eyes.
An ideal way to protect your eyes from UV rays is through the use of high quality eyewear. Be sure that your sunglasses or prescription glasses block 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays. An inadequate pair of sunglasses can sometimes be worse than using no sun protection at all. Think about it this way: if sunglasses offer no UV protection, you are actually increasing your exposure to UV rays. Sunglasses that are inadequate will reduce the light, forcing your iris to open and allow more light in. This means that more UV will reach the retina. It's important to check that your sunglasses give enough protection against UV.
Speak to your optometrist about the various UV protection options, including adaptive lenses, polarized lenses and fixed tint sunglasses.