Sunglasses – not just a style statement

I’ve been reluctant to start this blog. Talking about sunglasses and sunny weather will no doubt result in a May where the sun goes AWOL. Regardless, it is good to remember sunglasses aren’t just for the summer. There are benefits of wearing sunglasses even on a lovely crisp and chilly January’s day. Many fashion conscious folk don’t need encouraged to wear a pair but they shouldn’t just be seen as a style statement. They are essential to help keep our eyes healthy.

Ultraviolet (UV) light is harmful to the eyes and continued exposure to UV light can lead to long-term damage including macular degeneration and cataracts, both serious conditions affecting vision in later life. In addition, constant squinting can be very uncomfortable and lead to fine lines around the eyes. UV rays also affect the delicate skin around the eye area. This area of skin is probably the most sensitive skin on our bodies so should be treated with extra care. Jackie O had the right idea. Bigger is better when sunglasses are concerned as more of this delicate area is covered and therefore protected.

jackie-o-show-1

Few also realise that exposure to bright light can make it harder to adjust to seeing in the dark. So for example if you’re driving home in the dark after a day in the sunshine, it is especially important to wear sunglasses to ensure your eyes are able to adapt effectively.

Here are a few tips:

· Make sure the glasses you buy meet EU and British Standard and block 100% of UV light.
· Darker lenses don’t mean better protection. In fact the darkest of lenses are too dark for wearing whilst driving so watch out for that.
· A study by Which a few years back highlighted the issues that can be faced from buying cheap high street sunglasses. That said there are many low cost options out there just make sure you look for 100% UVA and UVB protection, as well as considering how dark your lenses are.
· Polarised lenses are the most effective at blocking glare.
· Always wear specialised glasses for sport, tailored to the requirements of your chosen pastime.
· Remember the little ones. The damage of UV rays can start from a very young age so make sure your children wear sunglasses too, as well as hats to cover the face, should the sunglasses get tossed aside! Wrap around glasses like www.babybanz.com are especially good to ensure they remain on, as well as protecting against peripheral glare.

So make sure you and all your family have your sunglasses close at hand for when the sun makes an appearance both at home and abroad. It will happen!

Here are some eyewear brands that we stock. All are available with prescription and non-prescription lenses. Speaking of Jackie O, there is a Ray-Ban model still available in her iconic style called Jackie Ohh – it comes in 4 colours with 2 lens colour options. http://www.ray-ban.com/uk/products/sun/RB4101

http://www.ray-ban.com/uk/

http://www.mauijim.com/shop/en/uk

http://www.williammorris.co.uk

http://www.guess.eu/en/Catalog/Browse/women/sunglasses/

http://www.silhouette.com/gb/en/home/

Hidden benefits of contact lenses

With yesterday officially being the hottest day of the year so far, and dare I say it, the good weather predicted to last into August, It is perhaps the first summer in many that we have had to think about the effects of Ultra violet (UV) light on our body.

It is commonplace now to protect our skin with sun creams but what about protection for our eyes?

While our bodies are wonderful at repairing and replacing some damaged cells, the crystalline lens of the eye is an exception that is never replaced. Therefore gradual UV exposure over the years can lead to the early development of cataract, causing reduced vision.  Ocular UV related changes are not limited to cataract but have a role in the development of age related macular degeneration , photo keratitis, pterygium and can cause melanomas of the skin around the eye and eyelids.

Most sun damage is accrued during the early developmental years of life, perhaps only showing itself later in life. Therefore sun protection for children is vital.

So how do we protect our eyes from the harmful UV exposure? A good pair of sunglasses is a great start. These should offer protection to the level of UV 400. This means that 99-100% of harmful UVA and UVB wavelengths are blocked out. The style and fit of the spectacles can also make a difference. The larger the lens, or the more wrap around the style then the more UV light is blocked out.  Be very wary of cheap sunglasses without the UV400 protection. The dark nature of these lenses causes the pupil to get bigger behind the lens, allowing even more harmful light into the eye. Standard spectacle lenses do not offer UV protection.

A great benefit of many modern soft contact lenses and some RGP lenses is that they have a built in level of UV protection. This means the added benefit of year round UV protection as well as coverage of the whole eye.

Good nutrition is another way of protecting the retina from potential UV damage. Lutein is an antioxidant that protects the delicate cells at the macula. It can be found in many of the ocular supplements you find at the chemist or in health food shops and naturally in dark green leafy veg such as Kale, spinach and broccoli.

Another frame we’ll never stock

Hot on the heels of the bizarre looking A-Frame comes the Ron Arad ‘Corbs’.

Apparently taking inspiration from a vertebrates spine, the sunglasses are designed without hinges to give a snugger fit that should never come loose.

Again appealing to a very small market, the idea is certainly novel and another example of how eventually we discover that mother nature had it right all along.

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