sunglasses onAn eye surgeon is urging adults and children to ensure they sport their sunglasses to avoid eye damage such as cataracts and cornea damage as a result of exposure to UV rays. Milind Pande, consultant surgeon at Vision Surgery & Research Centre in Hull, is a leading UK cataract specialist and last year he was president of the UK cataract society. 

Mr Pande said: “UV radiation can also increase the chance of developing cataracts, damage to the cornea and age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of blindness. In the UK, over 600,000 people suffer from AMD and cases of the disease are expected to increase by a quarter in the next 10 years.”  

Today’s sunglasses come in a huge array of colours and tints. Although all glasses with plastic lenses offer some degree of protection against harmful ultra-violet rays, the colour and darkness don’t indicate the level of UV protection. Good sunglasses should block all the UVA and UVB so when buying them check they block 100 per cent of UVA and UVB. Neutral grey or brown lenses are good as they have less effect on the way we see colours, some pink or blue tints can distort colours and are not recommended for driving. Mr Pande offers the following top tips to avoid damage to the eyes from UV light:

  • stay out of the direct sun as much as possible, wear a brimmed hat or a cap and wear good quality sunglasses with the CE British Standards mark BSEN 1836:1997.
  • sunglasses sold under BS 2724 have a shade number which relates to the amount of UV light allowed through. The higher the number the better.
  • sunglasses should block out 75-90% of visible light and 99-100% of UV rays.
  • wraparound styles are effective as they prevent light from getting behind your sunglasses and into your eyes.
  • neutral grey or brown lenses are good as they have less effect on the way we see colours,
  • some pink or blue tints can distort colours and are not recommended for driving.
  • Photochromic lenses that automatically go darker in the sun are also very good.