Sun Awareness Week is held in May every year by the British Association of Dermatologists to raise awareness around sun protection and skin cancer. The BAD use a two-pronged approach, providing advice on prevention as well as early detection.
Studies suggest that 25% lifetime UV exposure occurs before the age of 20, increasing the risk of UV damage later in life. Teaching children how to protect themselves from the sun and UV from an early age will help develop habits that will stay with them.
Our eyes and skin around the eye are delicate, so daily protection from UV rays is important. UV rays penetrate the eye at different depths, UVA is mostly absorbed by the lens, with a small portion reaching the retina, and UVB rays are mostly absorbed by the cornea with some reaching the lens of the eye. Research has shown that there is a correlation between overexposure to UV and the development of conditions such as photokeratitis, cataracts and various forms of cancer.
The best way to protect your eyes is by blocking the UV with protective lenses.
- Many prescription lenses are available with various coatings such as anti-reflection, or scratch proof. Ensuring your lenses have a coating that offers UV protection will help to protect your eyes while you are out and about.
- Photochromic lenses are lenses that react to UV, changing colour to provide comfort and glare reduction for the wearer. These lenses offer 100% protection against UV rays.
- Whether you choose standard or polarised lenses, sunglasses provide comfort from sunlight while providing protection against UV. To ensure you get the maximum protection from your sunglasses it is important to purchase that have the CE mark on the side, and state they are UV 400. Wearing sunglasses that wraparound offers protection to the side of the eye, and larger lenses cover more of the eye area.
Sunglasses for children, including infants are widely available and recommended. Finding a pair of sunglasses with sturdy lenses and a flexible frame will suit most children, as they are prone to fiddling with them and playing outdoors.
For more information about sunglasses and UV protection, speak to a member of our team at your local Eye Place.