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Protecting Yourself Against Harmful UV Radiation

Even after Summer passes, it is still incredibly important not to let your guard down when it comes to protecting yourself and your loved ones against harmful Ultra-Violet (UV) radiation from the sun and other sources. Dr. John House of Texas State Optical in College Station, Texas has compiled some important information to help you and your loved ones avoid overexposure of your eyes to UV radiation all year around:
UV radiation comes mostly from the sun, but many people don't realize that it can also come from many other places, like welding machines and tanning beds. You may know already that UV radiation can cause you a painful sunburn on your skin, but many people do not realize that UV radiation can be dangerous for your eyes as well. Too much UV radiation can give your eyes a kind of "sunburn of the eye," called photokeratitis. This can cause eyelid twitches, eye pain, and extreme sensitivity to bright light. In severe cases, an overexposure to UV radiation can also do permanent damage to your central vision. Furthermore, the more your eyes are exposed to UV rays over time, the greater your chances become of developing serious problems with your eyes later in life, such as age related macular degeneration, cataracts and even cancer.
Many steps can be taken to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays. The American Optometric Association suggests that you wear good sunglasses with gray lenses, that block 99-100 percent of UV-A and UV-B rays and 75-90 percent visible light. These sunglasses should be easily available to you in many locations. You should also be sure to wear a hat or cap with a wide brim any time you will be outdoors for a long time. Wrap around sunglasses and contact lenses with UV protection are also great additions, as traditional sunglasses often let UV radiation around the edges that can still do damage to your eyes. If you've had surgery for cataracts or are taking medicine that will make your eyes more sensitive to light, you should be sure to take these same steps every time you go outside, no matter how long or short your time outside will be.
You should also keep in mind that there are certain situations in which sunglasses alone are not enough to protect your eyes. Arc welding and tanning beds are sources of direct light which require specialized eyewear to prevent extremely harmful side effects similar to looking directly into the sun. Snowfields, although they do not give off light of their own, do reflect a great deal of light that can also do similar damage to your eyes without appropriate specialized eyewear.
For more information, speak with your eye care professional today.