09 May 2016
This week is Sun Awareness Week, so why not take a few
minutes to read this blog and learn how to look after your eyes and enjoy the
brighter weather safely.
Sun Awareness Week is a national campaign created by The British Association of Dermatologists to highlight how dangerous the sun can be if we don’t protect ourselves from it.
We love sunny weather and all the fun activities it brings with it like picnics, barbeques and outdoor sports. Living in a country where the weather is so unpredictable makes us appreciate the sun all the more on the days when it does decide to make an appearance. Whilst spending time outdoors is great for your health and a little bit of sunshine can even boost your mood, it’s very important to know how to enjoy the brighter weather safely.
In this blog we’ll explore what damage prolonged exposure to the sun can do to your eyes, why it’s important to protect them, and how you can safely do so.
How and when can the sun affect your eyes?
There are two types of UV ray that enter our eyes from the sun, UVA and UVB rays. Some of the rays are absorbed by our eye’s structure without causing any damage, but constant exposure without adequate protection can result in damage to the eye.
In the short term, excessive UV exposure can cause varying degrees of eye irritation, but long-term exposure can result in cataracts and other eye problems.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t get out and enjoy the sun this summer, but it’s important to protect your eyes when doing so.
Although it’s important to be extra vigilant at protecting your eyes during the summer months, UV rays can pass through cloud, and are also damaging during the winter months. So if you usually put your sunglasses away at the end of August and don’t get them out again until the following June then it’s time to think again!
5 tips for protecting your eyes from the sun
Wearing sunglasses is the best way to protect your eyes from the sun’s UV rays and give comfort in very bright conditions. At Tesco Opticians all of our sunglasses are made to the agreed European standard to offer a safe level of UV protection from both UVA and UVB rays.
Sunglasses aren’t just beneficial when out in bright, direct sunlight, if you choose polarised lenses they will also protect your eyes from the glare that reflects off buildings, water, concrete, snow and other surfaces around you.
To offer your eyes adequate protection it’s important to wear your sunglasses whenever it is bright outside, all year round, even if there is a thin layer of cloud blocking the sun or you’re sat in the shade.
Need some new prescription sunglasses? Find the perfect pair in our Brink Sun range priced at just £40 each including lenses.
Don’t look at the sun
It is also important to remember not to look directly at the sun as this can cause permanent damage to the eyes. Remember that it’s never safe to look at the sun, even whilst wearing sunglasses or during a solar eclipse (or doing both at the same time!)
If you’re going to be wearing your prescription glasses or sunglasses a lot whilst driving, or around snow or water, then spending a little more on polarised lenses will be well worth it. Surfaces like water, snow and concrete all reflect a lot of sunlight, meaning that they cause a lot of glare. Polarised lenses will minimise the glare, protect your eyes and increase comfort.
All of our prescription sunglasses and glasses can be fitted with polarised lenses at an additional cost. Simply add them to your basket and you will be asked to select which lenses you’d like when entering your prescription.
If you wear contact lenses then you may already be aware that some contact lenses now include some degree of UV protection. This is a great extra layer of protection, but is not adequate protection on its own. Your lenses only protect the part of your eye that is underneath the lens, not the surrounding area, and most lenses do not block 100% of UV light, so sunglasses should still be worn.
Wearing a wide-brimmed hat will provide you with some shade and reduce the amount of UV rays that reach your eyes, but should be worn as well as sunglasses, not instead of. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, if you choose a hat with at least a 3 inch brim you can block up to half of all UVB rays from reaching your eyes.
Children and the sun
Extra care should be taken with children playing outside as their eyes are even more vulnerable to UV rays. Children’s eyes are clearer than adult’s and so allow more UV to enter the back of the eyes, putting them at higher risk of damage from UV exposure.
Children playing outside, especially in bright sunlight, should always wear kid’s sunglasses and a wide brimmed hat for protection.
Extra care required
It’s important to be vigilant at protecting your eyes at all times, however there are some occasions when danger from UV rays may be higher than usual and extra precautions should be taken These include:
- On holiday somewhere where the sun is stronger than you’re used to
- At times when the sun is at its strongest (11am-3pm March- October)
- When around snow (reflects up to 85% of UV light) or water (reflects up to 100% of UV light)
Remember these tips all year round for healthy and comfortable eyes.
Look great and feel great this summer when you buy a pair sunglasses from our kids, prescription or non-prescription ranges.