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Be Sun-Wise With Your Eyes

Most people are aware of how harmful UV radiation is to the skin, but many may not realize that UV radiation rays that lead to skin cancer and premature aging of the skin are just as bad for your eyes.

Unprotected, excessive exposure to UV radiation over a short period of time can cause photokeratitis, which is basically a sunburn of the eyes marked by painful, red eyes and

sensitivity to light. These symptoms usually clear up quickly and rarely cause permanent damage to the eyes. However, growing evidence suggests that long-term exposure to UV rays can lead to macular degeneration, the development of cataracts or other serious eye conditions that can cause vision impairment later in life.

Children typically spend more time in the sun than adults and are especially susceptible to eye damage from the sun because the lenses in their eyes do not block as much UV radiation as in adults.

Therefore, whenever you spend time outdoors, it is important to wear quality sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of UV rays. Also, certain contact lenses can provide additional UV protection.