Most people will pack away the sunglasses after returning from a holiday in the sun, but by doing so, could be risking their eye health. Gareth Drewett explains more…

While many people understand the damage Ultravoilet (UV) rays can cause to skin, fewer appreciate the damage UV can cause to your eyes. Prolonged exposure of your eyes to UV has been linked to cataracts, macular degeneration and even some types of eye cancer. Gareth Drewett, store director from Specsavers in Wisbech, offers five top tips for maintaining your eye health.

Five tips for healthy eyes in high UV areas

1. Beware of UV rays

It’s not just in the height of summer that your eyes can be exposed to UV radiation. Even on a cloudy day, when it’s unlikely you will be wearing sunglasses, your eyes can be exposed. What’s important is that you own and wear a pair of sunglasses or UV blocking contact lenses which offer high levels of protection.

2. Pick the right pair of sunglasses

Before you buy a pair of cheap sunnies make sure they provide adequate protection – not all do! Sunglasses don’t need to be expensive but they should always conform to agreed safety standards. Look out for a CE (European Community Standard), BSEN1836 (British Standard) or UV400 markings and aim for a pair that offer 80 percent light reduction.

3. The bigger the frames, the better

Choose larger styles that cover more of the face as these will allow less light in at the sides, therefore increasing protection for your eyes. Wraparound styles are especially good for sporty types or those who enjoy outdoor pursuits.

4. Always check the tint level

The depth of tint, or darkness, can be a poor indicator of the degree of UV protection provided by a lens. A clear lens with no tint and 100 per cent UV protection is better for your eyes than dark, heavily tinted sunglasses without UV protection.

In fact, dark lenses without adequate UV protection can be worse for your eyes than not wearing glasses at all, because the dark tint causes your pupils to become dilated, so exposing your eyes to more harmful UV light. 

5. If in doubt ask!

If you’re not sure of the risk, or have an old pair of sunglasses you’d like to have checked, come in and see us in Wisbech. We’d be more than happy to take a look and to offer some help and advice. Protect your eyes whatever the weather and pick up a pair of sunglasses from Specsavers.

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