Doctor warns sun damage could cause vision loss – how to protect your eyes

Eye health: Nutritionist reveals foods that protect your eyes

With summer solstice officially kicking off the summer season, you are probably looking forward to spending as much time outdoors as possible.

While sunscreen is a must during this time, a doctor has urged people to pay the same attention to their eyes.

Dr Susan Sarangapani at OCL Vision said: “We all know how damaging prolonged sun exposure can be to skin. 

“But while many of us wouldn’t dream of heading to the beach or going for a run in strong sunshine without applying SPF cream, few give a thought to protecting our eyes.

“This is a mistake, as the Ultraviolet (UV) radiation in sunlight can be very harmful to the eyes, especially when staring directly at it.”

READ MORE: Eye health: The nutrients that can protect against ‘harmful effects’ in summer

Worryingly, UV exposure can trigger cataracts, vision loss and even blindness over time, the doctor warned.

“It can also put you at risk of developing cancer in the fragile skin immediately around the eye,” she added.

Fortunately, this is where a pair of sunglasses can step in and offer the necessary protection for your eyes.

Dr Sarangapani said: “The most effective way of protecting eyes from sun damage is a good pair of sunglasses.

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“In the summer months, they are an essential piece of outdoor kit and should be worn when spending time outside, particularly when the sun is shining bright.”

Another key thing is not to look directly at the sun as this can cause problems, ranging from sunburn of the cornea to irreversible damage to your retina.

While buying sunglasses doesn’t seem like a problem in the 21st century where pretty much every shop offers their own selection, the doctor recommended looking out for the following to ensure optimal protection.

She said: “The most important thing to check is that the sunglasses offer protection against harmful UV-A and UV-B rays.

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“Given that sun exposure can be very damaging to the sensitive skin around the eyes – an area where it’s hard to apply SPF without getting cream into your eyes – it’s important that the lenses are big enough to cover this area too.

“In addition, make sure you keep your sunglasses in a case or soft pouch when you’re not wearing them, as they may become scratched over time.”

When it comes to the make, rather than going funky and bold, the doctor advised considering your lifestyle.

Wraparound styles could be great for people who enjoy sports like tennis, cycling and running, while polarised lenses could help stop you from glaring when swimming.

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