Have you heard the latest on skin sun damage? Of course you have. We all wear our hats outside in the summer to protect our heads and face from the sun's harmful rays. We buy 100 PF sunblock to protect our skin, especially for our children. We know what the sun can do to our skin.
However, do you know what damage the sun can do do your eyes? For years we ignored the damage of the sun's rays, but with the thinning of the ozone layer, we know the rays are much more harmful now. Same with the eyes. Anytime you are going to be outside in the sun for any period of time, you should be protecting your eyes. Sun damage to the eye means early cataracts and greater possibility of developing macular degeneration. Those pesky UVA and UVB rays are responsible for this.
What can I do?
If you don't wear corrective glasses or contacts, make sure you wear sunglasses, but more importantly, make sure the sunglasses have UVA and UVB protection. If you purchase a cheap pair of sunglasses that are simply dark plastic lenses, you are in more danger of damaging your eyes than not wearing any protection at all! Why? Behind the lenses, your pupils dilate (become larger) which allow more UVA and UVB rays to penetrate through to your eyes.
Additionally, you have a higher level of risk if your eyes are a light color, such as blue, because they will also absorb more UVA and UVB rays. Dark brown eyes seem to provide more protection to the eye than blue or green.
If you wear contacts, you should be relatively safe. Most contact lenses are treated to protect against UVA and UVB rays.
If you wear corrective glasses, make sure your lenses have UVA and UVB protection. The following lenses DO have UVA and UVB protection:
Scratch resistant coatings
Transition lenses (changes from light to dark)
Progressive lenses (no-line bifocals)
Basically the lenses that have no protection are plain plastic single vision, bi-focal and tri-focal lenses and glass lenses in all forms. UV coating can be purchased for these lenses.