While a painful, red sunburn immediately tells you that you’ve had too much sun exposure, sun damage to your eyes is usually silent until long after the harm is done. Fortunately, your strongest defense is easy: a well-made pair of sunglasses.
The sun is the main source of ultraviolet (UV) radiation, emitting both UVA (long wavelength) and UVB (short wavelength) rays that penetrate the ozone layer. Over time, too much UV exposure can damage the eye in several ways, from front to back. It can cause scar tissue to develop on the surface of the eye; early cataract formation; eye cancer; and damage to the retina, which can accelerate and worsen macular degeneration – a major cause of vision loss as people age. Most of this is cumulative damage resulting from years of overexposure to sunlight and is a particular danger for those who work outside for long periods of time, like landscapers, construction workers and fishermen.
And if you think you are safe by staying away from the beach on sunny days, think again. UV rays will penetrate clouds and haze, and will reflect off water, sand, pavement and even snow! In fact, the effects of UV exposure are often increased by reflection.
Along with wearing a wide-brimmed hat, high-quality sunglasses from a reputable provider will provide your eyes with the best protection from the sun’s UV rays. Beware of sunglasses without UV protection; they can make the damage worse because the dark tinting of the glasses will dilate your pupils, allowing even more light and radiation to come in.
Here are the top 5 things to remember:
PS: And don’t forget the sunscreen!