The majority of Americans are aware of the hazards of Ultraviolet (UV) light to your skin, (particularly sunburn and skin cancer) and the need for using UV blocking sunscreen and avoiding direct contact with the sun particularly during the blazing summer months. But how many are aware that ultraviolet rays and other radiation from the sun also pose a threat to your eyes?
If you are thinking of leaving the house without proper eye protection, consider this: Frequent exposure to harmful UV light has been shown to cause damage to the eye.
UV Eye Damage
Exposure to excessive quantities of UV over a short amount of time can cause a ''sunburn of the eye'', leading to pain, blurred vision or even temporary vision loss. Long-term ultraviolet exposure can lead to more serious eye diseases such as cataracts, macular degeneration, and others, all of 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.
Selecting UV Protective Sunglasses
To shield your eyes from threatening UV rays, you should be careful to only purchase sunglasses that block 100 percent of ultraviolet radiation. Stick with shades that specify they are ''UV 400'', which indicates that they prevent all UV light from entering your eyes (400 refers to the wavelength of light in nanometers).
The size of your sunglasses is also important. Wraparound sunglasses can block harmful ultraviolet rays from entering from the sides and back of the frame.
It's not necessary to pay a lot to have proper UV coverage, but you should not buy anything until you are sure the sunglasses give full UV coverage. More and more manufacturers recognize the importance of offering proper defense against the harmful risks of exposure to UV light. The great news is that in addition to defending your eyes from the harmful sunlight, stylish sunglasses are in style, so pick up a pair (or two) and let the sun shine down!