We all have heard the following phrases: “don’t expose yourself to sunlight for long time”, “wear your sunglasses during daytime to protect your eyes from the sun” or “these sunglasses provide 100% UV protection”, but most of us don’t quite understand the meaning behind these phrases.
Sunlight, with all the beneficiary elements that can provide us with, unfortunately can also be the source of many health and eye-related issues that we may be called to face. Natural sunlight is filtered by the atmosphere, but still the UV radiation that reaches earth, 95% of those rays is the longer wavelengths of UVA rays and the remaining 5% is the shorter wavelengths of UVB rays, that if we don’t keep our eyes protected from we may be placing our vision at risk.
UVA & UVB Rays:
UVA radiation that we should be concerned about, is the UVA and UVB radiation. UVA rays are the ones that are absorbed by the deeper layers of the skin, and they are responsible for the aging of tissue, sunspots, even the loosing of skin. UVB radiation is also aggressive, since it is absorbed by the top layers of the skin and it is one of the main causes of skin cancer.
Taking into consideration that eyes are extremely sensitive muscles, and are exposed to direct contact with sunlight, unless protected, they face the biggest danger of immediate or chronic damage from UV rays.
A prolonged exposure to UV radiation can be the cause of developing cataracts (an eye disease, in which the lenses of the eyes develop patches that are cloudy, blur and if not treated can result to blindness), or even macular degeneration (an eye disease on which the macular of the retina deteriorates and evidently results to blindness).
Even exposure to UV radiation for a brief amount of time, but to a lavishing amount of that radiation, can result to eye-related issues, such as photo keratitis, a painful condition, similar to sunburn but of the eyes. Red and itchy eyes, or / and extreme sensitivity to light, are only some of the symptoms of photo keratitis, and thankfully do not last for long, nor does this condition result to permanent damages of the eyes.
Keep Your Eyes Protected
What you need to pay attention to, in order to keep your eyes protected:
- Choose sunglasses that provide protection of at least 99% of UVA and UVB radiation.
- Your shades should not be scratches as to filter completely the harmful rays.
- Ideally, shades should have a darker color in order to sunscreen the sunlight.
- Shades should block at least the 75% of visible light (portion of the electromagnetic field that is visible to the human eye).
It is advised that you keep your eyes protected, throughout the year, whether it is summer (higher risk) or winter, since the harmful radiation, can be reflected on surfaces, such as glass, water or snow. It is better that you invest on purchasing a pair of quality sunglasses in order to preserve a healthy vision. As we always say: Investing on your glasses, is like investing on your eyes present and future health.