Protecting eyes from sun damage this summer, advice from Boots eye expert

Karen millen

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How to protect eyes from the sun and the damage you may cause if you don’t, warns Boots Optometrist Carolyn Norman.



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“When the sun comes out, sunglasses are a must-have accessory.  However, did you know that sunglasses can play an important health role too..Most of us know that we need to protect our skin from the sun. But did you know that UV exposure also affects our sensitive eyes? Wearing sunglasses is an important way to protect and prolong the health of our eyes.

Understanding UV Rays

Sunlight is important to our health, but if we aren’t careful, it can also have harmful effects too. The sun produces large amounts of radiation known as ultra violet light, made up of tiny particles called photons. This high energy radiation is split into three bands called UVA, UVB and UVC. We don’t need to worry about UVC rays because they don’t reach the earth’s atmosphere.

Although much of this radiation is harmless to the eye, research has shown that UVA and UVB rays do pose a real risk. We are sure you have heard of UVA and UVB, but do you know the difference between them?

  • UVA rays may tan your skin and speed up the ageing process. Lengthy exposure to UVA rays can also harm the eyes causing age-related illnesses such as cataracts. Remember A = ageing
  • UVB rays can cause sunburn and can also damage your eyes. Remember B = burning

How to protect you and your family

Research has shown that the effects of UV radiation on the human body are more powerful at progressively lower wavelengths. This means that UVB is more dangerous than UVA. Here are some useful tips to protect you and your family.

  • By wearing sunglasses you can block out harmful rays and give your eyes the protection they need because the lenses have UV absorbers built into them.
  • This means that it doesn’t matter if the lens is very pale, very dark or graduated, the UV absorber will give you the same level of protection.
  • It is particularly important for you to help children protect their eyes, as radiation from the sun is more harmful to children than to adults.

To protect your eyes from the sun you should wear sunglasses.  Although sunglasses with UVA and UVB protect give you 100% UV protection from the front surface, you are not fully protected as some rays can get to the eyes from behind or reflected from your face.  Therefore, Boots have introduced a new coating, Boot UV protect Plus.  This coating goes on the front and back surfaces of the lens to offer the highest protection from UV with an ESPF (like SPF but for the eye) of 50+ when applied to Boots sun lenses.  Boots UV protect plus is also reflection free and scratch resistant.”