By now, most Americans are familiar with the dangers of Ultraviolet (UV) radiation to your skin, (particularly sunburn and skin cancer) and the necessity of applying sunblock 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 considering going outside without sunglasses, reconsider. Frequent exposure to harmful ultraviolet light has been linked to damage to the eye.
UV Risks to Eyesight
Intense short term exposure to UV can lead to a ''sunburn of the eye'', leading to pain, blurred vision or even temporary blindness. Long-term ultraviolet exposure can result in more threatening eye diseases such as cataracts, macular degeneration, and others, which can cause loss of sight. Those who use welding machines, tanning beds and lasers are also at increased risk of exposure to UV radiation.
UV Eye Protection
For proper UV protection, sunglasses should completely block all UV rays. Stick with shades that specify they are ''UV 400'', which indicates that they block all UV light from entering your eyes (400 refers to the wavelength of light in nanometers).
The size of your sunglasses is also important. Sunglasses with side protection can prevent harmful UV light from coming in through the sides and back of the frame.
It's not necessary to empty your pockets to have proper UV defense, but it's essential to be certain the sunglasses provide complete UV protection. More and more manufacturers recognize the importance of offering proper defense against the threatening effects of exposure to sunlight. The great news is that in addition to guarding your eyes from the sun's harmful rays, stylish shades are in style, so pick up a pair (or two) and let the sun shine down!