You might be fooled into thinking there’s no sunshine on a cloudy day; however, we’re warning of the UV dangers present throughout the autumn and winter months.
The lower position of the sun during the colder seasons presents a direct danger to your eyes. While the sun’s rays are stronger throughout summer, your eyes are more vulnerable to direct UV rays in the autumn and winter months.
Stephen Hannan, Clinical Services Director at Optical Express, commented: “UV rays can burn the surface of the eye – just as it causes sunburn on skin. Up to 80 per cent* of the sun's UV rays penetrate light clouds and can also reflect through clouds.
“UV rays can damage the eye's surface tissues as well as the cornea and lens – leading to corneal sunburn, which can cause temporary loss of vision. You could also be at risk of skin cancer of the eyelid and eye cancer.
“The only defence against these dangers is sunglasses – so even on a cloudy and overcast day, don’t assume your eyes are safe from the sun’s rays.”
Did you know?
Sunglasses that are tinted but offer no UV protection can actually damage eyes more than wearing none at all, as the tinted lenses fool the pupils into dilating (opening up) allowing more UV light to enter the eye but offering no protection.
Top Tips to keep your eyes protected all year round:
Protect children’s eyes
80% of lifetime exposure to UV rays happens before the age of 18, making it essential to protect children’s eyes against the sun. Never allow children to wear toy sunglasses as these can cause additional damage as they allow children’s pupils to dilate and let more sunlight in, whilst offering no protection against harmful rays. Children’s eyes are more likely to be irreversibly damaged by the sun, as the cornea, lens and fluid are clearer allowing more light to reach the retina.
Check for a CE Mark
Make sure that sunglasses carry a CE or British Standard Mark. These indicate the sunglasses offer a good level of protection, and it is a quick and fool proof way of making sure your eyes are protected.
UV 400 protection
Aim for sunglasses that offer UV 400 protection as these can eliminate 97-100 per cent of UV rays, lowering the risk of damage significantly.
Check how much light can be let in around the frames
Although sunglasses might offer excellent levels of protection in the frames, it is important to make sure the frames fit your face well to make sure light can’t easily enter your eyes from the side or above. Ensure the style you’re picking doesn’t allow excess light in from the sides, above and below.