It's safe to assume that almost everybody is exposed to UV rays on a regular basis. But the potential risks of many years of exposure to these harsh rays aren't really thought through, to a point where the majority of people barely take enough action to guard their eyes, even if they're expecting to be exposed to the sun for an extended period of time. Overexposure to UV is dangerous and cannot be reversed, and may lead to a number of serious, sight-stealing diseases down the road. This means that ongoing protection from these rays is extremely important.
UV radiation, originating mostly from the sun, is made up of 2 sorts of damaging rays: UV-A and UV-B. Even though only minimal amounts of UVA and UVB light hit the inner eye, the eye cells are extremely susceptible to the harmful effects of their rays. Intense, short-term of exposure can cause sunburn of the eye, or photokeratitis. When the cornea receives UVB rays, the surrounding cells are significantly damaged, which can lead to blurred vision, pain or temporary blindness. UVA rays can actually enter the eye more deeply, causing harm to the retina. Over a number of years, being exposed to UV rays may lead to substantial damage to the eyes.
One of the best ways to protect your eyes from UV rays is by wearing high quality sunglasses. Be sure that your sunglasses or regular glasses block both UVA and UVB rays completely. Wearing an unsatisfactory pair of sunglasses can sometimes be more harmful than having no sunglasses at all. Consider this: if sunglasses don't offer any protection against UV, it means you're actually getting more UV rays. The inadequate sunglasses will reduce the light, which causes your iris to open and let even more light in. This means that more UV will reach the retina. It's important to check that your sunglasses give effective protection against UV.
Talk to your optometrist about the various UV protection options, which include fixed tint sunglasses, adaptive lenses and polarized lenses.