Ultraviolet radiation is typically discussed as a threat to skin health and as a source of tanning or burning, but it can also have detrimental effects on vision. Many of the issues associated with ultraviolet radiation will go unexpressed during youth but can later appear and create eye health issues that need to be treated. In order to keep vision healthy for as long as possible you need to protect eyes from these harmful rays. One of the best ways to do this is to wear a high quality pair of sunglasses daily as they will filter UV light out and prevent it from damaging the eye. There are a number of things about UV radiation that you should know prior to investing in a pair of sunglasses in order to make an educated and effective decision. Below are some of these facts as well as more information on choosing the right pair for you.
What Is Ultraviolet Radiation?
Ultraviolet radiation is a specific range of the electromagnetic spectrum of light that cannot be seen by the naked human eye. The wavelengths of ultraviolet are shorter than those of visible light and are divided into three different categories: UVA, UVB, and UVC. Only UVA and UVB ever reaches the earth; UVC is absorbed by the Ozone layer before it can hit the ground. The remaining two are longer in wavelength than UVC and can cause damage to both the eyes and the skin. UVA is the longest form and is able to pass the farthest into human tissue and is the culprit for tanning. On the other hand, UVB is slightly shorter and does not often make it beyond the surface of the body, resulting in burning. Essentially, two of the three forms of UV light are hazardous to the eye and must be protected against with a good pair of sunglasses.
What Damage Can Ultraviolet Radiation Do?
Ultraviolet radiation does not only affect the skin. Rather, it has many negative effects on the human eye. To begin, it is a large factor in the formation of cataracts. Cataracts are a buildup of cloudiness in the lens of the eye. The lens is typically clear and focuses light onto the retina so that an image can be properly formed. This obstructing haze causes improper refraction of light and makes vision extremely blurry for the sufferer. Additionally, ultraviolet light increases the chance of facing Age-Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD), the degeneration of cells in the centre area of the retina. Those suffering from ARMD lose a great deal of vision in the centre of their field of view, thus complicating the completion of daily tasks like reading, identifying faces, and driving.
What Should You Look For In Sunglasses?
Sunglasses are a great way to ensure that your eyes age healthily and with minimal problems. Invest in a pair that sports as many as the following as possible:
- Sticker indicating protection from 99-100% of UV light;
- Protection from UVA & UVB;
- UV 400 Protection; and
- Meet the guidelines of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI)
In short, your eyes need to be protected from UVA and UVB radiation in order to minimize the risk of vision problems when you get older. At Buda Vision Centre we are eye care professionals dedicated to giving you the best possible resources and treatment. We understand the importance of keeping vision clear and healthy and are committed to friendly, welcoming service.