Five ways to protect your eyes from UV damage

As we enjoy the last shortening days of summer, and perhaps exchange some of our warm weather clothes in favour of cosy knits, it isn’t time to pack away your sunglasses just yet.

In fact, it’s even more important to protect your eyes from the sun’s rays in the late summer and autumn months as the sun sits lower in the sky and can shine more directly and continually onto your face.

Aviators, round, oval or oversized – a new set of sunnies can switch up your style, make you feel great, and protect your eyes through the late summer sunshine and beyond.

What is UV damage?

You’re probably aware of ultraviolet radiation (UVR) and that it can be harmful to your eyes, but did you know that there are different types of UVR in rays of sunshine – UVA, UVB and UVC?

It’s the UVA and UVB rays from the sunlight that can cause eye damage including cataracts, macular degeneration, sunburn to the eyes (photokeratitis) and in some cases, eye cancer.

Brown eyes have slightly more melanin, the pigment which can help protect the retina from UV damage, which means those with lighter coloured eyes are at a slightly higher risk of developing UV-related eye damage.

So, before you step out into the sunlight, consider these five simple steps to protect your eyes.

Don’t settle for shady standards

Always look for a CE (European Conformity) or British Standard mark to make sure your sunglasses provide top UV protection. The British Standard benchmarks quality, strength, stability, design and manufacture as well as UV protection.

For extra protection look for shades with UV400 which offer the maximum defence from UV, filtering out 99-100% of UVA and UVB rays.

It’s also worth thinking about frame shape and lens size, with larger lenses and wrap-around frames offering more coverage and protection.

At Optomeyes Eyecare we only stock sunglasses that offer high levels of protection for your eyes so you can be confident that you are choosing good quality frames and lenses when you purchase new sunglasses from us. Our favourite brand is Maui-Jim. 

Sunglasses for life, not just for summer

UV radiation is emitted every day of the year, even when it’s cloudy. So, just as it’s important to always wear SPF on your face whatever the weather, it’s important to wear sunglasses whenever you’re outside meaning you can enjoy those stylish shades through every season.

Be ready for action

If you work outside or enjoy outdoor sports and activities, you’re likely to be exposed to further UV radiation, especially around water or snow which can create a high-glare.

According to the World Health Organization, snow reflects as much as 80% of UV radiation, sea foam reflects about 25% of UV radiation and dry sand on the beach about 15%.

UV protection alone doesn’t make a pair of sunglasses effective against glare so it may be worth considering a polarized or mirrored lens which is also UV-protected to help to reduce glare.

Look out for the children

Estimates suggest that up to 80 per cent of a person’s lifetime exposure to UV is received before the age of 18. Children have larger pupils allowing more light into the eyes and they typically spend more time outside usually without eye protection.

It’s not always easy to persuade your child to wear and keep on a pair of sunglasses, let them help choose their own pair so that they like them and consider fun accessories like straps to help your children to keep their sunglasses on and from getting lost.

Keep an eye on your eye health

We recommend you have an eye health check every two years to check for any damage to your eyes. 

To find out more about taking care of your vision, come rain or shine, check-in with our knowledgeable team for advice about eye care, protecting your eyes from sun damage or if you have any concerns about the health of your eyes.