20 X 20 Eyesight

Sunglasses and Eye care

A pair of sunglasses is fairly common accessories men and women own. It is considered a very popular fashion accessory in our society. In the past few years designers have been adding variety to the design of the accessory. From basic wire frames to titanium and tinted glass to polarized lenses the sunglasses has evolved to suit different tastes and different needs. So many designs for so many purposes that it is easy to neglect what it was really made for: protection from ultra violet (UV) radiation.

UV radiation and UV exposure

UV radiation is invisible to the naked eye; it comes in three types UVA, UVB, and UVC. Prolonged exposure to UV radiation causes tissue damage. Depending on the intensity and length of exposure the damage could hit the surface tissue, cornea, and even the lens. There are a lot of eye problems attributed to short and long term exposure to UV rays some even leading to total blindness.

Short term exposure to large amounts of UV radiation can cause Photokeratitis- the cornea is inflamed because of the brief radiation exposure. This could lead to red eyes, painful eyes, a gritty or itchy sensation on the eye, and uncontrollable tears. Photokeratitis is temporary though and usually does not last longer than a day.

Long term exposure poses more potential problems. Scientific studies show that constant exposure to small amounts of UV radiation can cause the development of a cataract. Cataracts occur when the lens in the eye become clouded at which point the only remedy would be surgery. There is also a possibility of developing skin cancer on the eye lids and may even lead to chronic eye diseases such as pterygium (a non cancerous growth on the clear membrane of the eye) and Pinguecula (a non-cancerous yellow lesion like growth on the mucous membrane lining the eyelid near the cornea).

Sunglasses vs. harmful rays:

There are so many complications that may come from short and long term exposure to UV radiation but there is one very simple solution to prevent them from occurring: The use of sunglasses. The glasses are not just there as an accessory to your ensemble it serves the purpose of protecting your eyes from the sun. Investing on a good pair of sunglasses need not be a budget wrecking experience. You just have to choose the model that fits your environment and lifestyle. Steer clear from cheap knock off's because they are only good for display.

Most sunglasses have indications usually stickers that identify whether they are coated with UV protection. If in doubt don’t be afraid to ask your local dealer about the amount of UV protection the pair can provide. Consider the environment if you are in higher altitudes much closer to the sun or heavy glare environments then you need more protection. Urban areas have lots of shades from infrastructure shadows so a basic pair of sunglasses would do the trick. Remember that the sunglasses you purchase need not be cheap as long as the lenses provide a certain amount of protection and that you are comfortable wearing them.

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