Most of us are good at looking after our skin during the Summer months, applying sun cream and moisturiser to protect ourselves from the damage of UV rays. However, we often forget about the effects sunlight can also have on our eye health. Below are easy ways to protect our eyes this Summer!
Wear sunglasses with UV protection – This may seem obvious, but it really is the most important thing we can do to protect our eyes in the sun. Good quality sunglasses with a high UV rating will block and protect the eyes from harmful UV rays. Sunlight is the most substantial source of UV and blue light. The macula which controls all of our central vision, can be irreversibly damaged by blue light and over time could lead to a condition known as Age-related Macular Degeneration.
You can tell whether sunglasses offer UV protection by checking if the frame features the CE or UV400 mark or states 100% UV protection. Sunglasses with a UV 400 lens block all light rays with wavelengths of up to 400 nanometres, which covers all UVA and UVB rays. Always look out for these labels when you’re shopping for sunglasses to make sure they provide the best UV protection for your eyes. If you wear prescription sunglasses, you might consider adding a UV coating to your lenses so that your eyes are protected at all times.
Don’t forget your hat – Don’t just rely on sunglasses, a hat will also help protect the eyes against the sunlight. Look for one that has a peak or a rim that will shade your face and eyes e.g., a baseball cap or fedora hat. Some hats are even SPF50+ certified.
Wear contacts with UV protection – If you are a contact lens wearer you can now buy UV blocking contacts. Class 1 UV blockers provide the most UV protection. But remember to also wear a pair of sunglasses for maximum protection.
Be aware of clouds, water, snow and sand – Sunlight can pass through clouds, so it is still really important to protect the eyes on cloudy or overcast days. Most of the sun’s rays reflect off water, snow and sand surfaces, so they can hit off a person’s eyes more than once.
Start Young –Did you know that children are at a higher risk of UV damage to their eyes? This is because their pupils are bigger and let in more light than adult eyes. So, get kids into the habit of wearing sunglasses and hats when they are young to give their eyes the best protection from long lasting sun damage.
Boost your natural protection – From birth our eyes are naturally designed to gather Lutein, Meso-Zeaxanthin and Zeaxanthin at our macular pigment. The carotenoids gather at the macular pigment to help the eyes filter blue light, reduce oxidative stress and inflammation. Making sure your diet is packed full of green leafy veg, colourful fruit and fish will help increase your carotenoid intake.
However, it won’t give you the 22mg that your eyes need every day. One small MacuPrime capsule will give you 10mg Lutein, 10mg Meso-Zeaxanthin and 2mg Zeaxanthin – exactly the daily amount recommended by Nutrition Research Centre Ireland to maintain an optimum level of macular pigment and eyesight protection.