All Seek lenses and designer sunglasses block 100% of UVA, UVB and UVC rays. The American Optometric Association (AOA) advises that extended exposure to the sun's UV rays without the correct protection may cause eye conditions that can lead to severe vision disorders. Exposure to UV radiation can harm the eyes and other components of solar radiation can also affect vision.
People whose work, or recreational activities, involve prolonged exposure to sunlight are at the greatest risk. UV radiation reflects off surfaces such as snow, water and sand, so the risk is greater for people on beaches, boats or ski slopes. The intensity of UV rays is the highest during the mid-day hours, 10 am - 3 pm, and during the summer.
The hazard of UV rays
It is common knowledge that UV radiation harms the skin, but many people may not know that exposure to UV radiation can damage the eyes or that other components of solar radiation can also affect vision.
If your eyes are exposed to excessive amounts of UV radiation over a short period of time, you are likely to experience an effect called photokeratitis. Like a “sunburn of the eye”, photokeratitis may be painful and include symptoms such as red eyes, a foreign body sensation or gritty feeling in the eyes, extreme sensitivity to light and excessive tearing. Fortunately, this is usually temporary and rarely causes permanent damage to the eyes.
Long-term exposure to UV radiation, however, can be more serious. Scientific studies and research have shown that exposure to small amounts of UV radiation over a period of many years increases the chance of developing a cataract and may cause damage to the retina, a nerve-rich lining of the eye that is used for seeing. Additionally, chronic exposure to shorter wavelength visible light (i.e. blue and violet light) may also be harmful to the retina.
The longer the eyes are exposed to solar radiation, the greater the risk of developing later in life such conditions as cataracts or macular degeneration.
Since it is not clear how much exposure to solar radiation will cause damage, the American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends wearing quality sunglasses that offer UV protection.