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Look after your eyes on International Sunglasses Day

27 June 2018

With temperatures soaring in the UK, more is better when it comes to protecting your eyes from the sun. If you are planning to be out in the sun for any period of time it is advisable to protect your eyes by wearing a wide brimmed hat along with some good quality sunglasses.

It is just as important to take as much care of your eyes as it is you skin. The intense ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun damage sensitive cells in the eyes, which can overtime affect vision.

Studies have shown that the build-up of the effects of long term uv exposure to the eyes may include cataracts.

Whilst it can take years before experiencing any symptoms caused by sun damage, short term damage is also a possibility including conditions such as photo keratitis and photo conjunctivitis, an inflammation of the membrane outside of the eye. Symptoms of such conditions caused from over exposure to UV usually include a feeling of sore, gritty and tired eyes.

Reflective rays from the sun can be even more damaging, with snow reflecting up 80% UV radiation, sand and water between 15%-25% and because you’re usually looking down wide brimmed hats alone do not offer enough protection from the sun’s harmful rays.

Consider the time of day, because when the sun is highest in the sky it is shaded by the brow ridge, the morning and mid-afternoon are the times when the sun is likely to cause more damage to the eyes.

When purchasing sunglasses consider the following

  • Choose sunglasses that block 99% of UVA/UVB rays
  • Ensure the size of the lens covers the eye completely and provides coverage at the sides
  • If you are sensitive to the light opt for darker lenses

You can also purchase contact lenses that protect against UV exposure.

Remember to take care of the younger members of the family, children have larger pupils and clearer lenses and are outside without eye protection much more frequently than adults. Research shows that a large amount of lifetime exposure to UV rays can occur by the age of 18.

If you or family members have any concerns about any eye conditions you may wish to seek advice from one of our consultant ophthalmologists.

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