UV protection for your eyes

When it comes to UV protection from the sun’s harmful rays, it’s likely you’re quite disciplined about taking care of your skin by applying a good quality, broad-spectrum sunscreen.

But what about your eyes?

UV protection for your eyes in the sun is every bit as important as taking care of your skin. Failing to do so can increase your risk of eye conditions such as macular degeneration, cataracts and even skin cancer in the delicate skin around your eyes.

Understanding UV rays

UV rays are produced by the sun and, whilst they are invisible to the eye, they are what cause damage such as sunburn. There are three types of UV ray UVA, UVB and UVC. The majority of the sun’s UVC is absorbed by the ozone layer but this isn’t the case for UVA and UVB. Both of these types of ray reach us and are responsible for the harmful effects of too much sun. Make sure you take sensible precautions to protect your eyes from the sun’s rays by not looking at the sun, wearing a hat and choosing good quality sunglasses (even on cloudy days).

Choose the right UV protection and sunglasses to protect your eyes

Just like choosing a good quality sunscreen, it’s important to choose good quality sunglasses that offer reliable UV protection from UVA and UVB rays. If you find yourself tempted to choose the latest sunglass trend, be sure to check that they offer adequate UV protection too.

Things to think about when choosing sunglasses;

  • Check the UV protection rating and look for a CE, UV400 or British Standard Mark to be certain you’re choosing a pair with adequate UV protection.
  • Larger styles and wraparound frames will offer greater protection.
  • Check the filter level. Sunglasses are graded from 0-4 (0 being the lightest and 4 the darkest). Although category 4 gives the greatest relief from bright light, they may be too dark to wear when driving so always take care.
  • If your sunglasses have been thrown in a drawer or left in the car glovebox since last summer, check for scratches. Scratches will make your sunglasses less effective.
  • Choose the right type of sunglasses for your activity. If your hobbies mean you spend lots of time in the sun, make sure your sunglasses are robust.
  • If you’re very sensitive to light, you might find polarised sunglasses are more comfortable.
  • If you wear prescription glasses or contact lenses it’s also a good idea to have a pair of prescription sunglasses.
  • NEVER choose style over substance.

Take advice from your optometrist

By far the best way to make sure you have good UV protection for your eyes is to seek advice from a qualified optometrist or dispensing optician. They will talk you through your options, including the most appropriate UV protection if you’re a contact lens wearer or are in need of sports-specific glasses such as for golfers or sailors. We can also help you choose between photochromatic lenses, which become lighter or darker depending on the light conditions, or whether you would be better suited to a pair of prescription sunglasses.

For more information call 023 9255 0723 for Lee-on-the-Solent or 01329 832706 for Wickham and a member of the team will be happy to advise you.