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This Month is Ultraviolet Awareness Month


Because of education to increase knowledge of the threats of Ultraviolet (UV) light to your skin, (particularly sunburn and skin cancer), most are familiar with the need for applying sunblock and using other forms of sun protection when spending time in the sun. But how many are aware that ultraviolet rays and other radiation from the sun also pose a risk to your eyes?

If you are considering leaving the house without proper eye protection, think about this: Prolonged absorption of the sun's UV rays has been linked to damage to the eye.

Risks of UV Eye Exposure

Exposure to excessive amounts of ultraviolet radiation for a short amount of time is known to lead to a ''sunburn on the eye'', which results in pain, blurred vision or even temporary vision loss. Long-term ultraviolet exposure can lead to more serious eye diseases including cataracts, macular degeneration, and others, which can be a threat to vision. Just like the real sun, tanning beds pose a serious threat of overexposure to UV.

How to Choose Protective Sunglasses

To guard your eyes from harmful UV rays, sunglasses should completely block all UV rays. Stick with shades that specify they are ''UV 400'', which indicates that they prevent all UV light (400 refers to the wavelength of light in nanometers).

The size of your sunglasses is also important. Wraparound sunglasses can prevent dangerous ultraviolet light from coming in through the backside of the sunglasses.

Those whose daily activity involves lengthy exposure to sunlight are at the most risk for damage to their eyes. UV can be bounced off of surfaces such as snow, water, and white sand and presents the most threat from 10 am to 3 pm and throughout the summer months. Exposure to UV becomes more substantial as you get closer to the equator and at high altitudes. It's recommended that you consult with an eye care professional and to know the hazards of UV exposure. The simple act of putting on your sunglasses can be the key to protecting your precious eyesight.