Published on 9th July 2014
Nowadays, we all use sunscreen to protect our skin, but you shouldn’t forget to protect your eyes as well. Long summer days means more time spent outdoors, and recent studies show that exposure to bright sunlight may increase the risk of developing eye problems in the future.
Don’t just assume you only need sunglasses when you are abroad on holiday to protect your eyes from strong sunlight reflected off the sand and water, you need them here at home too. If you’ve recently had laser eye correction, then it’s very important to protect your eyes during the bright summer months, but everyone really should own a good pair of sunglasses.
Let’s look at some of the simple things you can do to protect your eyes:
Wear good quality sunglasses.
It may seem obvious, but a decent pair of sunglasses really are your eyes best friend. Follow these simple guidelines to help you choose a quality pair.
- Expensive sunglasses sometimes mean better, but it’s not always the case and you don’t have to spend a small fortune to protect your eyes. What really matters is the degree to which the lenses filter out harmful UV rays.
- Make sure the sunglasses carry the CE mark, which proves they conform to the European Community Standard. They should also satisfy British Standard BSEN1836, meaning they will provide high levels of protection against damaging ultraviolet light. The best sunglasses will block 100% of UV-A, UV-B and harmful blue light.
- Do not assume the darker the lenses the better the sunglasses. It’s easy to confuse the shade of the lenses with their ability to filter UV rays. Dark sunglasses may still allow UV rays to enter the eye. Sunglasses are marked with a filter category from 0-4, where 0 is the lightest and 4 is the darkest lens.
- Polarising lenses will reduce reflective glare from water and land surfaces, making them particularly good in bright or hazy driving conditions. This type of lens is a great choice for reading too, so if you’re a big bookworm on holiday, make sure you have polarising lenses in your sunglasses.
- Sunlight is at its strongest from mid-day to early afternoon, at higher altitudes, and when reflected off water, ice or snow. You need good sunglasses just as much on the ski slopes as you do on the beach.
- Wraparound sunglasses styles go that little bit further to protect your eyes by helping to keep out peripheral brightness and glare.
Wear a hat.
- As added protection you can also wear a hat to shield the sun from your eyes. A wide brimmed hat or peaked cap are best.
- Dry eyes syndrome is common during the summer months due to increased temperatures and rapid tear film evaporation. These symptoms can be eased by using artificial tears, which can be purchased from any pharmacy or good opticians.
- Hay fever is not just a summertime problem, but it’s when it seems to cause most suffers their problems. Hay fever is an allergy to pollen and one of the symptoms can be itchy eyes. Commonly treated with antihistamines to ease the various symptoms you may find soothing artificial tears can be helpful too. You could also try a combination of hot and cold compresses on your eyes to combat the irritation.
Enjoy the sunshine and make the most of the great outdoors - just protect your eyes along the way!
All eye surgical procedures carry a level of risk including not obtaining the desired outcome, through to varying levels of visual loss. Your eye surgeon will discuss the risks and benefits, including ones specific to your circumstances, at the time of your pre-operative consultation.