When you buy a new pair of sunglasses, what has the most influence on your choice? For most people the answer would be style. Which means they overlook the one key thing that should guide their choice.
Experts recommend, to protect our eyes, we should wear dark glasses whenever we go outside. This is important all year round, but especially so in the summer when ultraviolet (UV) radiation is three times higher than in winter. And it’s absolutely crucial between 10 am and 2 pm when daylight is at its peak.
You’ll have heard a lot about the damage UV light does to our skin and you’ll know how important it is to use sun screen. But do you know about the damage UV light can also do to your eyes?
Protect your vision
The main ways in which the sun’s ultraviolet rays can harm your eyes are:
Cataracts, where the lens develops cloudy patches causing blurred vision. An estimated 20% of cases are caused by UV exposure.
Macular degeneration, where the retina is damaged, destroying central vision.
Photokeratitis, or sunburn of the eye, which is very painful.
Pterygium, a tissue growth over the white surface of the eye, also known as surfer’s eye. This is painful and annoying but usually not serious
Protect the skin around your eyes
It’s important to remember the skin of the eyelids and around the eyes is very thin and susceptible to sun damage. An added bonus to wearing sunglasses is that they stop you squinting and so can slow the emergence of wrinkles!
What to look for
So the next time you choose a new pair of sunglasses, check their UV coverage. Ideally they should block 99-100% of UV light. If the label doesn’t give a percentage blockage it may say UV400 or 400nm. This is the equivalent of 100% absorption. Happily price is not an indicator of coverage, so shades need not be expensive to be effective.
If you’re not sure if your current pair block enough UV light, then bring them into us and we can easily check them with a spectrometer.
Polarization has no effect on the amount of UV absorbed, but will protect you from excessive glare. This can particularly be a problem around snow and water as they reflect 80-100% of UV light (compare this to grass which only reflects 3%). Wear wraparound glasses in these conditions as they provide complete coverage for your whole field of vision.
Enjoy the sun
The damage caused by UV rays is cumulative, building over time. And often the symptoms are not obvious until the damage has been done. But with the right protection you can go outside and enjoy the sun. So please, take our advice and always wear your shades when the sun is shining. With luck, that will be often!
To encourage everyone to protect their eyes this summer, we’re offering
10% off all our adult sunglasses and £10 off all children’s sunglasses
Offer ends 18th July 2018. 10% off only on adult sunglasses during this offer period. Children’s sunglasses normally sold at £25 now £15 only with this offer.