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Keeping Eyes Safe from UV Rays

Everyone is regularly exposed to UV rays. But the potential risks related to many years of exposure to these unsafe rays are not often considered, to a point where most people take little action to protect their eyes, even when they're planning to be outside for long periods of time. Being exposed to too much UV is dangerous and cannot be reversed, and can also lead to more than a few severe, sight-damaging diseases in older age. This means that ongoing protection from UV rays is a must for everyone.

There are two types of UV rays: UV-A and UV-B, and both are harmful. Despite the fact that only minimal amounts of UVA and UVB light enter the inner eye, the eye tissue is very receptive to the dangerous effects of their rays. Intense, short-term of exposure may result in sunburn of the eye, often referred to as photokeratitis. When UVB rays enter the cornea, the outer cells are significantly damaged, which can cause blurred vision, pain or in serious cases, temporary blindness. UVA rays actually enter the eye more deeply, which causes damage to the retina. Over time, being exposed to UV rays may be responsible for significant and lasting damage to the eyes and vision.

An ideal way to guard your eyes from UV rays is by wearing quality sunglasses. Ensure that your sunglasses or prescription glasses block 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays. An inadequate pair of sunglasses can sometimes be worse than having no sunglasses at all. Basically, when your sunglasses offer no protection against UV, it means you're actually being exposed to more UV rays. Sunglasses that are inadequate will block some of the light, which causes the iris to open and let even more light in. This means that even more UV will reach the retina. It's important to check that your sunglasses provide enough protection against UV.


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