Protecting your eyes
Long-term exposure to sunlight increases the risk of a type of cataract and is also linked to pterygia (growths on the surface of the eye).
Simon Kelly, of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, warns that sun can burn the eyes too.
“Over-exposure to ultraviolet light, such as a day at the beach without proper eye protection, can cause a temporary but painful burn to the surface of the eye, similar to sunburn on the skin,” he says.
He adds that reflected sunlight from snow and water, and artificial light from sunbeds, is particularly dangerous. Always avoid looking directly at the sun. “Staring directly at the sun can permanently scar the retina, the area at the back of the eye responsible for vision,” he says.
Another risk to eyes is skin cancer, which can affect the eyelids and area around the eyes. Long-term exposure to the sun can increase this risk.
Wearing a wide-brimmed hat can reduce the amount of UV rays that reach your face and eyes. Sunglasses can also offer protection.
What to look for in sunglasses
Not all sunglasses are adequate. When you’re shopping for sunglasses, choose a pair that has one of the following:
- the CE Mark and British Standard (BS EN ISO 12312-1:2013)
- a UV 400 label
- a statement that the sunglasses offer 100% UV protection
Think about the sides of your eyes, and consider sunglasses with wide or wraparound arms.