What you need to know about UV protection

With sunnier days finally here, it’s hard not to get excited about spending time in the great outdoors and soaking up all those rays. However, as much as we love the sun, it’s important to be aware of UV rays and the negative impact prolonged exposure can have on your eyes. Read on to learn more about how to protect your eyes from the sun with our top tips.

What are UV rays?

Ultraviolet (UV) light is a form of radiation emitted by the sun. While these rays are invisible, they can have a big impact on your body. Not only can they lead to skin, problems like sunburn, and even skin cancer, but they can also damage your eyes. This can occur even when the sky is overcast, highlighting just how important it is to wear UV protection sunglasses all year round.

There are two main types of UV rays:

  • UVA rays – these can get past the cornea at the front of your eye right through to the retina at the back. Continued exposure over the years can build up and contribute to the development of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) – which can both cause a degree of sight loss if left untreated.
  • UVB rays – these can make their way through the ozone layer and are absorbed by the cornea and lens at the front of the eye. They can lead to acute an short term condition called photokeratitis (which is essentially like having sunburnt eyes!), as well as pinguecula – a harmless yellow growth on the white of your eye and pterygium, which is growth of pink, fleshy tissue on the thin membrane that covers your eye called the conjunctiva.

Potential sun damage

Continued exposure to the sun without eye protection can also lead to an increased risk of developing eyelid cancer and skin cancer around your eyes. Children are just as much at risk as adults if they don’t wear sunglasses that offer 100% UV protection from an early age, as they have larger pupils and clearer natural lenses which allow UV rays to enter their eyes more easily and cause permanent damage.

Shielding your eyes from the sun

There are several ways you can protect your eyes from the sun.

  1. Wearing 100 UV protection sunglasses – sunglasses protect your eyes from being penetrated by UV rays. We recommend wraparound sunglasses in particular, as they’re considered the best sunglasses for sun protection because of the coverage they provide for your peripheral vision too.
  1. Wearing a hat – a wide-brimmed hat or ball cap can shield your eyes from the sun’s rays when outside.
  1. Sitting in the shade – Although we enjoy sitting in the warmth of the sun, it’s best to limit the amount of time in direct sunlight during the hours the sun is at its brightest and strongest. This will protect both your eyes and skin from harmful UV rays.

Contact Donovan Smith Opticians – Brighouse

Whether you plan to go on a tropical vacation, or simply relax in the garden, it’s important to protect your eyes from the sun. Contact our friendly opticians in Brighouse to get further advice or browse our highly quality sunglasses today.