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Protect your eyes from UV rays

Exposing your eyes to UV rays can harm your vision and cause a number of eye issues such as cataracts, corneal sunburn, macular degeneration, pterygium and skin cancer around the eyelids.

Those who work or play in the sun, or are exposed to the sun for extended amounts of time are at the highest risk for damage to their eyes or vision from UV rays. At 20 years of age, the average person has received 80% of their life’s UV exposure.

Children have more transparent lenses in their eyes and more sensitive skin on their bodies. As a result, they are at great risk of experiencing adverse effects of over-exposure to UV light. The effects of overexposure to UV light at a younger age may not show up until later in life with higher risk of cataracts and age related macular degeneration. This is why it is critical to effectively protect our eyes from the sun.

UV rays come from the sun but also reflect off other surfaces such as water, snow, sand and the ground. They are generally at their highest and most dangerous levels during peak sun hours, usually between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

The obvious answer on how to avoid getting UV rays in contact with your eyes is to wear sunglasses. But not all sunglasses are created equal.

When shopping around, look for sunglasses that have a UV protection of 100 percent. Surprisingly, the amount of UV protection is unrelated to the color and darkness of the lens. A light colored lens may provide the same UV protection as a darker lens. To best protect your eyes make sure to select sunglasses that have a shade of UV 400. A UV 400 protection, will block out any and all harmful UV light from entering your eyes with wavelengths up to 400 nanometers. Also, remember to wear your sunglasses even when you’re in the shade. Although shade reduces the UV ray exposure, your eyes may still be exposed to UV rays reflecting off of other surfaces.

It’s important to maintain healthy vision by always properly protecting our eyes. Sunglasses give us the best protection for our eyes no matter the season.