It’s fine to pack the sunscreen to protect your skin when going on holiday, we know we have to or we may get some painful sunburn which is a powerful incentive to use it. But have you given the same consideration to your eyes? It is important to remember that sunglasses are not just a fashion statement and that they should protect your eyes properly.
You probably already know that the sun can seriously damage your skin and hopefully, you realize that it can also multiply the risk of damage to your eyes, e.g. an increased risk of developing cataracts in the long term. Although it should, this may not unduly worry you if you are younger, but there is also a short-term problem that is painful and can cause a temporary loss of vision. Often associated with exposure to a solar eclipse or to highly-reflective snow fields, this condition is known as photokeratitis and is basically a reversible sunburn of the cornea from UVB rays.
Most people are now aware that they need to get UV protection but to elaborate, UV radiation comes in at least two primary forms, UVA and UVB and both carry their own dangers. UVA can lead to premature skin aging while UVB may cause skin cancer. What you need to look for is a 99 – 100% protection against UV, irrespective of the price of your glasses or the darkness of the lens or whether they are cheap or more expensive designer sun glasses.
Avoid the really dark lenses as these may distort colour, this is a particular problem when driving. To get the best colour perception, the best lenses are green, brown, amber or natural grey.
Taking care of your eyes by wearing the correct sunglasses, whether they are from a High Street store or designer sun glasses can protect your eyes from possible damage. Don’t forget to ensure your children also have sufficient protection, so don’t buy toy glasses and make sure they are shatter-proof!
Remember that even if you wear sun glasses with full UV protection, some light can still enter from the periphery or from the top if the glasses, especially if they are particularly small frames. Also remember that if you engage in certain sports (e.g. surfing, skiing, cycling or mountaineering etc., that you will need more specialist glasses with additional properties.
There are a good range of fashionable sun glasses that will protect your eyes although these need not be designer sun glasses. Just remember that whether they are designer or non-branded glasses that they MUST have full UV protection to adequately shield your eyes.