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One of the biggest health mistakes people make when the sun comes out

According to eye health experts at Feel Good Contacts, one health mistake that we make is not wearing the right sunglasses to give us the optimum protection against degenerative eye disorders.
It is estimated that over three million people go blind each year from cataracts caused by exposure to the sun. In addition to this, exposure to the sun and its harmful UV rays is linked to other eye conditions such as pterygium. Our eyes are one of the most delicate organs in our bodies and yet many of us take them for granted. So, when it’s sunny outside, it is vital that we protect our eyes and ocular tissues from the sun by wearing the right sunglasses.

Here are five things to consider when buying sunglasses:

Always check that your sunglasses offer at least 99% UVA and UVB protection and are marked with CE letters, which indicate their compliance with European safety regulations. If your sunglasses aren’t blocking UV rays, then they will let in more harmful light than if you weren’t wearing sunglasses at all.

For extra protection, consider a pair of polarised sunglasses which protect against glare and halos from reflected rays. They also have the added benefit of helping to reduce ocular headaches and eye strain. Polarised sunglasses are designed for everyday use especially in bright conditions so are ideal for people who suffer from light sensitivity. These sunglasses can be useful when by the beach or doing water sports as reflected rays can be strong near the water.

Always opt for sunglasses with darker lenses. You should always choose sunglasses with a lens category of at least 2 or above as these provide a good level of UV protection and sun glare reduction. Category 2 lenses are the most common you will find in sunglasses. They provide good protection from UV rays but don’t have as dark a tint as the higher category lenses. Category 3 lenses provide extra protection from UV light and will block out the majority of visible light to protect your eyes. They are recommended for use on mountain ranges when you are closer to the sun. Category 4 lenses will protect you from strong UV light. They are ideal for use at higher altitudes, for intense outdoor activity or adventure sports. They should not be worn when driving (at any time of the day) as they are too dark and they are not suitable for use as everyday sunglasses.
Try wrap around frames which offer full coverage of your eyes from all angles around the lenses, giving you more UV protection.
Avoid buying fake sunglasses. Even if you wear fake sunglasses for a short amount of time, the UV rays that hit your eyes can be harmful and increase your chances of suffering from eye conditions and diseases.

Sharon Copeland, Optician at Feel Good Contacts comments “Unfortunately, it is at this time of year when fraudsters flood both online and offline markets with fake sunglasses – fake Ray-Bans being the most popular brand. Whilst it is tempting to buy these cheap replicas, fake sunglasses pose a very immediate health danger. Quality, branded sunglasses meet strict safety standards, but fakes don’t and fail to block UV light from reaching our eyes. In fact, they can actually allow more UV light into the back of the eyes and as a result, fake sunglasses can cause more damage to the eyes than not wearing sunglasses at all.”