UV protection for the eyes may be just as important as that sunscreen you use on your face and other parts of the body for protection. According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), the sun can damage the eyes just as it can damage the skin. When the eyes are left unprotected, the sun can cause a variety of damage to the eyes including age-related cataracts, pterygium, photokeratitis, and corneal degenerative changes. As a result, vision can be blurred, irritation can occur and redness and tearing are common. Other symptoms can include temporary loss of vision and even blindness. The aim of the American Optometric Association report is to educate young people that the skin is not the only part of the body that can be harmed by the suns UV rays. Protection against damage is as easy as wearing a hat with a brim or donning a pair of sunglasses that absorbs the UV rays before they can reach the eye and do damage. According to a recent study completed by the American Optometric Association, 40% of Americans do not take the UV protection rating of their sunglasses into consideration before they choose to purchase a pair of shades. This survey also relayed that while just over 60% of parents choose sunglasses for their children, only about 75% check to see if those sunglasses offer UV protection. The younger the individual, the more susceptible the eyes are to damage. This susceptibility is often linked to the fact that children and teens spend the majority of their days outdoors while adults tend to find comfort inside. In order to better protect your eyes: Purchase only those sunglasses that offer UV protection (both UVA and UVB) Choose sunglasses with gray lenses (for proper color recognition) Ensure your children and teens are wearing sunglasses whenever they are outside Wear a hat with a wide brim.