Virtually everyone is exposed to UV rays on a daily basis. Even though this is the case, the risks related to years of exposure to these unsafe rays are not often considered, and many take little action to shield their eyes, even if they're planning to be exposed to the sun for many hours. Overexposure to UV is dangerous and irreversible, and may also cause a number of severe, sight-damaging diseases in older age. Therefore, ongoing protection from UV rays is extremely important.
There are two types of UV rays: UVA and UVB, both of which are unsafe. Even though only tiny amounts of UVA and UVB light enter the inner eye, the ocular cells are very susceptible to the dangerous effects of their rays. Intense, short-term of exposure can result in sunburn of the eye, or photokeratitis. When UVB rays enter the cornea, the surrounding cells are severely damaged, and this can be expressed as blurred vision, pain or temporary blindness. UVA rays can actually enter the eye more deeply, which harms to the retina. After several years, exposure to UV rays can lead to substantial damage to the eyes and vision.
A really great way to shield your eyes from UV rays is by wearing high quality eyewear. Ensure that your sunglasses or regular glasses block both UVA and UVB rays completely. An unsatisfactory pair of sunglasses can be more harmful than having nothing at all. Think about it this way: if sunglasses don't give you any protection against UV, you're actually increasing your exposure to UV rays. The inadequate sunglasses generally reduce the light, causing your iris to open and allow more light in. And this means that even more UV will hit the retina. It's important to check that your sunglasses provide effective UV protection.
Going out in a large hat or baseball cap can also protect you from roughly half of UV rays. These hats can also reduce UV rays hitting your eyes from above or around glasses.
Talk to your eye care professional about the various UV protection options, including, but not limited to, adaptive lenses, polarized lenses and fixed tint sunglasses.