While the increase in sun is certainly welcome it's also important to consider the health implications both at home and abroad. While most of us are aware of the dangers that the sun poses to our skin, are we protecting our eyes in the same way?
Ultra-violet (UV) radiation from natural sunlight can damage to the tissues of our eyes causing discomfort and reduction in the quality of our vision. But what is UV light and more importantly what can we do to protect ourselves, our eyes and vision?
There are three types of UV light; UVA, UVB and UVC. UVC is mostly filtered out by the ozone layer in the earth’s atmosphere. UVA and UVB can cause damage to our eyes when exposed for prolonged periods without proper sun protection. This can lead to discomfort in the short term but over time can cause permanent changes to the eyes such as cataract and retinal damage which ultimately affect our sight.
Some contact lenses can block UV but this only protects the part of the eye that the lens covers - the eyelids and the white of the eye (conjunctiva & sclera) are not protected. To get full and complete protection for our eyes it is important to wear sunglasses suited to this purpose such as Maui Jim Polarised Plus lenses.
Sunglasses should absorb 100% of UVA and UVB offering full protection from these harmful rays and the damage they can cause. For those who spend a lot of time outdoors a wrap around design offers a more complete coverage, shielding the eyes from all angles.
Polarised sunglasses remove annoying glare. Glare occurs when light is indirectly reflected into our eyes, such as when driving on a wet road with the sun in front of you. Polarised, colour enhancing sunglasses have been shown to improve road safety in the US. Try a pair on and you’ll immediately notice the difference they make.
Sunglasses that do not have proper UV filters or that have not undergone rigorous testing can actually put your eyes at more rick of damage than with no sunglasses at all. This is because by reducing visible light they cause the pupils of the eye to open more, therefore allowing more UV light to enter the eyes, potentially causing harm.
So if you’re planning to head abroad this summer or you’re getting active in the mountains or on the sea, investing in a quality pair of sunglasses is one thing that can give peace of mind and help to fully enjoy life in the open air.