Most people are aware that getting too much sun is bad for your skin, but what they usually don’t know the same principle applies to their eyes. If your eyes are exposed to excessive amounts of UV radiation over a short period of time, you’re likely to experience a condition called photokeratitis, which in essence is an eye sunburn. Symptoms can include redness, a gritty sensation, extreme sensitivity to light, and excessive tearing. Photokeratitis is usually temporary and rarely causes permanent damage.
Serious conditions, such as cataracts or retina damage, are often caused by long-term exposure to UV radiation.
To protect your eyes, you need sunglasses, and not just any pair will do. The American Optometric Association recommends finding sunglasses that:
- Block 99 to 100 percent of both UV-A and UV-B radiation
- Screen out 75 to 90 percent of visible light
- Are perfectly matched in color and free of distortion and imperfection
- Have lenses that are gray for proper color recognition
Additionally, try wearing a wide-brimmed hat as well as wraparound shades for optimal protection from the sun. You’ll be doing your eyes a favor for years to come!