Sunglasses are worn by both people who require spectacles with prescription lenses to see, and those who already have perfectly good vision.
Whilst many people may choose to wear sunglasses as a fashion accessory, they do have an important role in protecting our eyes and keeping them healthy.
Why wear sunglasses?
The rays from the sun, or ultraviolet (UV) light can penetrate the eye, by travelling through the hole at the front, known as the pupil, through the natural crystalline lens and be absorbed by the back of the eye, the retina.
In a young, or fair coloured eyes e.g. a blue eye, this penetration is much higher.
The UV light can be harmful to the eye, especially for prolonged periods, or as an accumulation over years of exposure.
It is important to note that we are exposed to natural UV light when outdoors, even on cloudy days, and also artificial UV light when using sunbeds.
How to protect your eyes from the sun
Making sure you and your children have good quality sunglasses is really important.
A way of ensuring this is buying from an Optician, or making sure they meet British Standards (BS EN ISO 12312-1:2013) or carry the CE mark
A close fitting, wrap around frame will ensure good coverage and is more likely to block rays of light from the sides and behind
Wearing a hat with a brim or a sun visor is also a good idea
Be aware that for certain activities, e.g. skiing or sailing you will need even stronger protection.
What are the benefits of wearing sunglasses?
Apart from protecting our eyes from the sun, sunglasses have a bigger impact on our health and well-being.
Being outdoors in natural light is good for us, for both our mental state and health, so don’t think that staying indoors on a sunny day to avoid UV light is the answer!
Research also suggests that children who play outdoors regularly are less likely to be short-sighted.
Can I wear sunglasses just for fashion?
Looking good helps us to feel good, and needing prescription sunglasses shouldn’t mean that you have to sacrifice your style.
We’ve got a couple of articles you may find interesting:
the pros and cons of cheap sunglasses vs more expensive versions
choosing the best glasses for your shape and skin tone
summer sunglasses trends
and whether you should choose tinted or polarised lenses for your sunglasses.
If you’re looking for any help regarding prescription sunglasses, or the best type of lens to keep your eyes protected from the sun, get in touch with your local optometrist who will be able to explain the options available to you and help you to find your perfect pair.