Wearing unsuitable sunglasses can cause more damage than wearing none at all

This summer, Specsavers Opticas in Spain have conducted a survey about protecting the eyes from the sun, and with some interesting results.

Almost 100% of people asked know the importance of protecting their eyes from the sun, but not all of these people wear suitable sunglasses to protect their eyes from damage. According to the survey conducted in the Costas and Mallorca, at least 40% of people aged 18-34 wear sunglasses for fashion purposes as well as protection. However, not all sunglasses provide sufficient protection from damaging UV rays.

To ensure adequate sun protection, choose sunglasses that meet industry standards and carry the ‘CE’ mark which indicates these shades have met the necessary requirements for the European market.

The National College of Opticians and Optometrists in Spain (CNOO) have been campaigning for years on the importance of protecting your eyes from the damaging effects of the sun. They report on their website that close to 80% of the 12 million sun glasses sold in Spain during 2005 haven't passed any quality control. They say "It is fundamental to use lenses with special filters that fit the following criteria: stop dangerous solar radiation reaching your eyes, like infrared and ultraviolet, and reduce the intensity of the visible radiation to remove glare and have a clear and comfortable vision. Only sun glasses bought in optical stores with advice and prescription of an optician or optometrist can guarantee the quality of the filters and the eye health of the user."

Choosing the right sunglasses

Specsavers Opticas advise that when looking for sunglasses, customers should check the UV rating and choose a style which offers the maximum coverage to avoid stray light entering the eyes through the top or sides. Lens colour is not an indication of protection, yet neither is price.

Wearing sunglasses that do not meet the European industry standard protection of UV380 rating, especially dark lens glasses, is more damaging to the eyes than not wearing any at all. Dark lenses make the pupil dilate; therefore letting in more harmful rays than if you weren’t wearing them, because without the glasses the eyes would naturally squint to keep the rays out. Without the sufficient UV protection, they are nothing more than fashion spectacles.

For those aged 18-34, it takes just 5 hours per day of exposure to sunlight on the eyes to double the chances of developing early age related eye problems. People with lighter coloured eyes will be even more sensitive to this. This makes it all the more important to be able to combine fashionable designs with high UV protection.

To make protecting your eyes more affordable this summer, Specsavers is offering a free UV and sun tint on your second pair of glasses when you purchase from the 75€ ranges. There are Specsavers Opticas stores in Fuengirola, Calpe, Javea, Torrevieja and Santa Ponça, Mallorca. Visit www.specsavers.es to find your nearest store.

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