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May is UV Awareness Month


Most Americans are familiar with the hazards of Ultraviolet (UV) light to your skin, (including sunburn and skin cancer) and the need for applying sunblock and avoiding direct contact with the sun particularly during the blazing summer months. But did you know that ultraviolet rays and other harmful types of radiation from the sun are also a danger to your eyes?

If you often face the sun without proper eye protection, think again. Frequent exposure to harmful UV rays has been linked to damage to the eye.

UV Risks to Vision

Exposure to large amounts of ultraviolet radiation for a short interval can cause a ''sunburn on the eye'', which results in pain, blurry vision or even temporary blindness. In the long run, UV exposure can cause more serious eye diseases such as cataracts, macular degeneration, and others, all of which can be a threat to vision. Individuals that come into frequent contact with welding machines, tanning beds and lasers are also at increased risk of exposure to UV radiation.

How to Choose Protective Sunglasses

To guard your eyes from harmful UV rays, sunglasses should keep out 100 percent of UV radiation. Stick with sunglasses labeled ''UV 400'', which indicates that they block all light rays with wavelengths up to 400 nanometers (which includes both UVA and UVB rays, both known to enter the atmosphere).

The size of your sunglasses is also important. Sunglasses with side protection can prevent dangerous ultraviolet light from coming in through the sides and back of the frame.

It's not necessary to empty your pockets to have sufficient UV protection, but it's essential to be sure the sunglasses give full UV coverage. Many less expensive brands do offer proper UV defense. Further, as well as keeping your eyes protected from the harmful sunlight, stylish sunglasses are in style, so go buy yourself a pair (or two) and let the sun shine down!