Everyone is regularly exposed to UV rays. Even though this is the case, the potential dangers related to years of exposure to these harmful rays aren't really thought about, and the majority of people barely take enough action to guard their eyes, even if they're expecting on being out in the sun for an extended period of time. Overexposure to UV is unsafe and cannot be reversed, and can also lead to a number of serious, vision-stealing conditions down the road. And so, continuing protection from UV rays is equally important for everybody.
There are two types of UV rays: UVA and UVB, and both are harmful. Although only minimal measures of UVA and UVB light hit the inner eye, the eye tissue is extremely receptive to the damaging effects of their rays. Intense, short-term of exposure can cause sunburn of the eye, often referred to as photokeratitis. When the cornea receives UVB rays, the surrounding cells are destroyed, and this can lead to pain, blurred vision or even temporary blindness. UVA rays can permeate the eye much deeper, which harms to the retina. After several years, being exposed to UV rays can be responsible for significant and lasting damage to eye sight.
An ideal way to protect your eyes from UV rays is with high quality sunglasses. Check that your sunglasses or prescription eyewear block 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays. Wearing an unsatisfactory pair of sunglasses can actually be worse than wearing nothing at all. Consider this: when sunglasses offer no protection against UV, you are actually being exposed to more UV rays. The inadequate sunglasses generally reduce the light, causing the iris to open and allow more light in. And this means that more UV will hit the retina. Always check to make sure your sunglasses provide effective UV protection.
Long-term exposure to UV rays can also cause an abnormal tissue growth on the eye, which is called pterygium. This is a slim, wedge-shaped tissue growth with blood vessels that grow over the white part of the eye's surface. In addition to being cosmetically unappealing, a pterygium can be uncomfortable, and can even alter the curve of the eyeball, which leads to astigmatism. If the pterygium begins to grow over the cornea, it can damage vision and may require surgery. Because pterygia are the result of extended UV exposure, it's totally avoidable.
Make an appointment to speak with your eye care professional about the various UV protection options, which include adaptive lenses, polarized lenses and fixed tint sunglasses.