Along with being a popular fashion accessory, sunglasses provide protection for the eyes against harmful ultra violet rays, which are produced from the sun. These rays are UVA and UVB and can cause premature cataract and age related macula degeneration.

We all know we should protect our skin from the sun but we often neglect our eyes. Being near reflective surfaces such as snow, water and hard landscaping increases the risk of sun damage as the UV is reflected upwards towards our eyes.

The right Sunglasses can provide 100% of the ultra violet (UV) protection that a person needs, therefore when choosing a pair of sunglasses you should make sure that they indicate on them how much, if at all, they protect your eyes. Never wear scratched sunglasses. The scratches may have damaged the UV coating and, because your pupils will be dilated due to the tint, may allow more UV to reach the sensitive retina than not wearing sunglasses at all. Sunglasses are available in both non prescription and prescription, making them more readily available for the majority of people. The damage on your eyes from UV occurs over time; therefore it is important that we start protecting our eyes from an early age. Not only that, but children’s eyes are more sensitive than adults. 80% of the UV damage to the eyes is received in the first 20 years of life!

Manufacturers such as Babybanz provide 100% UV protection for 0-2 year olds, using tough polycarbonate lenses. These specially designed sunglasses are wrap-around with an elastic headband, which enables the sunglasses to stay put, and come in a variety of colours. A similar style is also available for children aged 2-5 years old.

Sunglasses in Sport

Sunglasses can be also be very useful for sport, with a special tint colour to help improve your performance for different activities.

Snow Sports; polarised brown, copper and amber tints take away the brightness and reflection from the snow and sky.

Cycling and Skating; brown and copper tints are best for reducing reflection and enhancing the perception of the road or track surfaces in bright light. Or a yellow tint is effective in limited light.

Tennis; blue and green tints highlight the background and enhance the contrast with the yellow ball.