03 April 2012
We all know by now the damage over exposure to UV rays can do to our skin, but have you considered the damage it can do to your eyes?
Sunburn isn’t just limited to your skin. According to Simon Kelly, of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, your eyes can get burnt too. He explains "Over-exposure to ultraviolet light, such as a day at the beach without proper eye protection, can cause a temporary but painful burn to the surface of the eye, similar to sunburn on the skin."
Whilst this sounds particularly unpleasant, it is the risk of developing cataracts that makes over exposure so dangerous for your eyes. The damage occurs by too much UVA and UVB light entering the eye. Your eye needs light to work, but in particularly sunny conditions, this means an increase of harmful rays hitting the retina.
The main way to protect your eyes against damage is to wear sunglasses which can filter out the UVA and UVB rays, whilst still allowing sufficient light in for you to see. Not all sunglasses have lenses that are of a high enough quality to do this, so it is important that you check the lenses are 100% UV filters. If you are in doubt, ask an optician or buy them from an optical website such as TescoOpticians.com.
And it’s not just light from the sun – reflected light from surfaces such as snow or water can intensify the amount of UV being absorbed by your eyes. So sunglasses are vital if you are in these conditions on a frequent basis.
As with all eye care you need to consider the purpose of your sunglasses. Wrap around styles might be better for winter sports, where as tinted lenses could prove to be better for general wear outdoors. Either way, looking after your eyes and protecting them against the sun is a vital part of your optical care. So whilst you’re stocking up on suntan lotion to protect your skin from harmful UV rays, just consider your eyes. After all, donning a pair of designer sunglasses doesn’t just protect your eyes, it keeps you looking cool!