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How to protect your eyes from the sun

Whats your go to when the sun comes out? Sun cream? A big brim hat? Maybe the BBQ? But do you wear any eye protection?

The Sun produces 3 different energy’s;

  • visible light- which is why we have day and night.

  • Infrared- which gives up heat/temperature

  • UV radiation- which is not viable and nor can we feel it.

UV radiation from the sun is most damaging. Think about it; we’ve been educated to wear sun cream (especially in summer months) to protect our skin. In the same way that our skin can be damaged by the sun or can too.

The UV radiation from the sun is present all year round, even on a cloudy cold day. Surprisingly 90% of UV passes through thin cloud cover.

What does UV do to your eyes?

Just like UV radiation can burn the skin, UV can also cause problems for the eyes. Whilst most UV is absorbed by the crystalline lens, and in some cases cause the onset of cataract (when the crystalline lens in your eyes begins to go cloudy), it is possible for a small amount of UV to reach the retina which could cause an onset of macular degeneration.

4 ways you can protect your eyes from UV

The good news is you can protect your eyes from UV radiation, it’s recommended that you use UV protection all year round.

1. Sunglasses. Sunglasses that aren’t compliant to British standards may cause more harm than wearing none at all as the darkened lens causes pupil dilation and thus letting more UV in to the eye. When purchasing sunglasses you should always be sure check the label before buying. Sunglasses that protect your eyes against UV will have a UV400 label or a CE mark. A wrap around style with thicker sides will offer the most protection as they tend to sit closer to the face. Due to the dark nature of the lenses sunglasses not only provide protect but in a lot of cases visual comfort, especially on very bright days.

2. UV filters in clear lenses. Clear lenses can have additional filters added to them such as UV Control by Hoya. This filter will prevent the reflection of UV from the back surface of your spectacle lenses. This coating paired with a polycarbonate or high index lens, which have front absorbing UV filters built in can provide up to 100% UV protection depending on the style of frame worn.

3. Photochromic lenses. This particular lens has the technology to enable it to change from light to dark depending on how much UV you are exposed to meaning it’s a convenient option for those who forget their sunglasses regularly.

4. Contact lenses. There are a few brands of contact lenses which can offer some UV protection.

Useful facts

You now know what the sun and UV can do to your eyes and how you can protect them. Here a couple of other useful facts about UV.

  • UV can be reflected of surfaces such as water (up to 100%), concrete (up to 25%) and even grass (up to 3%). So whilst wearing a hat can protect your eyes by up to 4 times more than wearing no protection it will not block the UV from reflected surfaces.

  • Children have fresher eyes than adults and can be particularly vulnerable. As you age the crystalline lens in your eye begins to yellow and will offer a small amount of natural protect but children’s crystalline lenses are still very clear. This means that children’s eyes can be exposed to up to 80% of their lifetime UV exposure.

If you would like to discuss the best way to protect your eyes don’t hesitate to get in touch

You can find a range of sunglasses on our website and a larger selection in practice.

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