East London and City Local Optical Committee
My Local Optician

Protection from UV Rays

It is just as important to protect our eyes against UV rays as it is our skin. Children under the age of 10 are the most vulnerable to UV damage and in the long run we increase the possible onset of cataract and age-related macular degeneration (AMD or ARMD). Just by squinting our eyes in bright sunlight we are susceptible to muscle fatigue which can cause headaches. Squinting also gives us wrinkles!

Protecting our eyes couldn’t be easier though. It simply takes a good pair of sunglasses to give our eyes all the protection they need. They don’t need to be expensive but they must be marked as 99-100% UV ‘absorption’ or ‘blockage’. ‘UV absorption up to 400nm’ is the same thing. Some cheaper sunglass lenses are ‘punched out’ of a large sheet of plastic and this can cause distortion which affects sharpness of vision.

The style of sunglasses you choose is important to consider. The large styles fashionable at the moment are great as they fully cover the eyes and delicate skin around the eyes (estimates suggest that 10% of head and face cancers occur around the eyes). Wraparound styles provide good overall eye protection as their close fit blocks out UV from all directions. Polarised lenses cut out reflected light in one direction so block glare from problem surfaces such as water, snow, sand and wet roads.

UV is now thought to be just as damaging in the early morning and late afternoon, not just between 11am and 3pm. Our eyes also need protection on a bright sunny winters day.

A good quality pair of sunglasses are important for anyone of any age and for any time of year, not just holidays or days on the beach.