Be wary of too much UV exposure

Date published: 24 May 2018

Whether you’re ‘staycationing’ or packing your bags to head abroad this summer, an Oldham community opticians is warning sun-seekers about the dangers of wearing sunglasses that do not provide adequate UV protection.

At this time of year, local specs wearers will flock to buy sunglasses to shield their eyes, and while the increased hours of sun does mean the risk of UV damage is higher, many are unaware of the consumer symbols they should be looking out for.

Excessive UV exposure, over a period of time, can cause or accelerate the development of cataracts or macular degeneration, which is the leading cause of blindness in later life. It can also cause unhealthy and permanent changes to the front of the eye which are cosmetically undesirable.

And while most people are aware of the effect of sun damage to their skin, many do not consider the potential impact on their eyes.

Catherine Hughes, store director at Specsavers Oldham says: ‘When the sun comes out at this time of the year, many people get worried about protecting their skin from the sun, while forgetting that sunlight can similarly be a source of irrevocable damage to the eyes.

‘This becomes an even more serious issue when you consider that many available sunglasses on the high-street are built with style rather than safety in mind.

‘Sunglasses should bear the CE kite mark and offer 99-100 per cent UV protection, which is indicated on labelling with the mark UV-400. The tint, the darkness, and even the price of sunglasses do not necessarily promise adequate protection to your eyes without those CE and UV-400 markings.

‘Some dark tinted throwaway-fashionable sunglasses can potentially threaten the safety of your eyes more than would be the case without sunglasses at all, as they encourage your eyes to widen, letting in more light and more damaging UV rays over time.

‘I would also strongly advise parents to make sure that their children are wearing the correct CE and UV-400 marked sunglasses.’

If sun-seeking shoppers have any questions, the Specsavers team will be more than happy to check whether their sunglasses offer suitable protection, as well as offer any advice and answer any queries about their eye health this summer.

To make an appointment with Specsavers Oldham call 0161 652 3339 or visit