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Top tips to protect your eyes

Most of us know we need to protect our skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays, but many Brits don’t know that our eyes are also very vulnerable to damage from the sun. Even those that don’t regularly go on holiday abroad could be at risk, as sunlight in the UK can cause our eyes damage, especially in summer.

Excessive exposure to the sun can cause a painful sunburn-like inflammation of the cornea at the front of the eye, which can greatly increase the risk of developing more serious, even sight-threatening, conditions in the future, such as cataracts, growths on the eyes, or even blindness. The sun’s damaging power is also increased by glare, which occurs when UV rays are intensified as they reflect off shiny surfaces such as glass or water.

It may not always be obvious when you are being exposed to too much sunlight. One simple rule of thumb to follow; if you are looking anywhere near the sun and it is causing any discomfort to the eyes such as making your squint, you are being overexposed.

Giles Edmonds, Clinical Services Director at Specsavers, says, “Excessive sun exposure can cause irreversible damage to your eyesight and can increase the risk of blindness. The right sunglasses can protect the eyes by filtering UV light from the eyes – however, many people still choose a cosmetic pair over safety, which may cause the pupil to dilate, increasing the amount of UV light filtering into the eyes. Now people can have the best of both.”

The risk of eye problems caused by the sun can be reduced by polarised lenses, which use a layer of iodine crystals to absorb glare.

8 Top Tips from Specsavers to keep your eyes safe this summer

  1. Always check sunglasses comply with BSEN 1836: 1997 or bear the CE kite mark and are marked UV 400
  2. Consider investing in photochromic lenses that adapt to light changes, darkening in bright light. Alternatively, get prescription lenses tinted in conjunction with a UV blocking filter to minimise the amount of light and UV rays that reach your eyes
  3. Polarised lenses can decrease the amount of glare which can dazzle and strain your vision; particularly useful when you are by the pool or taking part in outdoor sports
  4. The larger the lens, the more protection for your eyes
  5. Contact lenses offering UV protection do not cover the whole area of your eye, so should be worn with sunglasses
  6. Make sure your sunglasses fit correctly
  7. If you are going on holiday and have prescription sunglasses, take your optician’s phone number with you – therefore if your sunglasses break, your optician can send your prescription to an optician near you so that you can get new glasses abroad,
  8. And most importantly, never look directly into the sun, even when wearing sunglasses

However, the good news is you don’t have to sacrifice style for safety when it comes to sunglasses. Whether you are looking for a classic round, a statement square, glamorous cat-eye, striking aviator or something completely avant-garde – Specsavers has a huge range of popular silhouettes, unique styles and designer brands of prescription sunglasses for you to best protect your eyes in style.

Yuen Sum Cheung, Head of Frames Development at Specsavers said, “This summer, protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful UV rays with Specsavers’ range of fashionable prescription sunglasses, helping you to look great in the sun all summer long.”

If you’re worried about your eye health, visit your GP or call your Specsavers store to make an appointment; regular eye tests can help pick up any potential eye health issues early.

For more information, and to see the complete sunglasses range please visit the Specsavers website, here.

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