Sun awareness and eye health

Sun awareness and eye health

With Specsavers spokesman Timothy Kidd

Are people aware of the UV damage to eyes?

‘A huge amount of people just aren’t aware of the very real dangers of too much exposure to UV rays on the health of our eyes.

‘Now is the ideal time of year to make the public aware of the dangers. Excessive exposure to UV rays causes a painful irritation to the cornea at the front of the eye. In extreme circumstances this can lead to cancer of the cornea, age related macular degeneration, cataracts and even blindness.

‘To prevent this, invest in sunglasses that bear the CE kite mark and offer 99-100 per cent UV protection, which is indicated on labelling with the mark UV-400. Be aware that the price, darkness and tint of the sunglasses do not necessarily have a bearing on the strength of the protection offered and that labels should always be checked.’

What are the three most important things to consider when purchasing sunglasses?

“Always look out for the CE kite mark and ensure that your sunglasses are marked UV400. Cheaper glasses not bearing these marks are often poorly made and, not only will they not last as long, they will also not provide adequate protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays.”

“If you are going on holiday and have prescription sunglasses, take your prescription with you. If your sunglasses break, you should be able to use this to purchase a new pair abroad.”

“If you want to avoid having more than one pair of glasses consider investing in photochromic lenses that adapt to light changes, darkening in bright light.”

What are some tell-tale signs you need different sunglasses (eye pain, etc)

“If your sunglasses do not have a CE kite mark they may not offer full protection against UV radiation. This could result in swelling of the cornea that will cause pain and reduced vision.”

How often should sunglasses be replaced?

“If high quality sunglasses are purchased in the first place, and looked after properly, they can last for many years. If either the lenses or frame were to become damaged then replacement may be necessary.”

What are your top three tips for choosing sunglasses for children?

“Ensure the frame fits close to the child’s eyes so they can block as much UV radiation as possible.”

“A wraparound style will give maximum protection.” However it is often difficult to manufacture these in our on site labs particularly with higher prescriptions as the curvatures needed for the lenses don’t lend themselves to the wraparound styles. So if you want wrap a round for specific activities why not try out contact lenses using the FREE in store trial to overcome this issue.

“Plastic lenses are much safer than glass lenses as they will not shatter in the event of an accident.”

What are your top tips when it comes to convincing children to wear sunglasses?

“The key is finding the right frames in which your child feels comfortable. At Specsavers all under-16s get a free NHS eye test. All glasses in Specsavers’ kids’ £64 and teens’ £89 ranges are free with under-16s’ NHS funding. Specs wearers can also choose a second pair from the £64 or £89 range, free. Both pairs come with single vision lenses, a scratch-resistant treatment, and optional tinting on one pair but both carry the UV coating”.

How should sunglasses for children differ from those for parents?

“They should not differ at all, just be smaller to ensure an adequate fit.”