Most people are aware of the effect the sun can have on their skin and also what to do to protect it. Unfortunately not as many are as aware of the problems it can cause to their eyes. In countries that have lots of sunny days, and mostly everywhere during the summer months, it is important that eyes are protected and sunglasses can do this. A further problem is the fact that many people do not understand how much protection their sunglasses give them.
Some sunglasses are designed to help protect the eyes but others are more suited to fashion. For a short time in the sun the fashion ones may be OK but if there is going to be a prolonged exposure to the sun, more consideration should be given to protection. There are concerns that in order to get full protection the glasses will have to be very expensive but it is possible to buy a pair with good protection for under £20. Very often the added price is for the stylish frames rather than the amount of eye protection the sunglasses give.
The eyes can get sunburned and this will cause lasting damage. Squint lines do not look good on anyone and can make someone look much older than they are but then once someone knows they could go blind as a result of the burn it is more than likely that they will decide to wear sunglasses and realize that eye protection is something that should not be ignored.
There are two different types of sunburn that can affect the eyes, and that is one that is temporary and uncomfortable and another that is permanent and serious. As a worst case scenario blindness can occur.
• Gritty’ feeling that irritates the eyes even when out of the sun.
• Excessive blinking and watering – the heat will be uncomfortable and the eyes will feel dry.
• The eyes will be painful when looking at strong lights.
• The eyes will noticeably swell and may take on a red tint.
• Cataracts will form and they will need to be operated on.
• The corneas can become sunburned (the cornea is the surface of the eye).
• The thin membrane covering the eye can become cancerous and blindness can occur.
• Skin cancers on the eyelids.
The eye protection factor (EPF) provided by the glasses is important and a pair with a factor of 9 or 10 will give immense protection and let very few of the UVF rays through to the eyes.
Tips for Choosing Sunglasses
• Thicker frames will help prevent the rays reaching the eyes as will curved lenses.
• The frames should fit close to the face stopping rays getting into the gaps.
• Wraparound sunglasses have become popular as they shield more of the eyes. It may not often be noticed that the sun can still reach the eyes from the side so by doing this there is maximum protection from sunburn and less risk of damage for the eyes.