Whilst watching the World Cup cricket final from Australia in the darkness of an English night I was very pleased to be greeted on Sunday to a beautiful dawn full of sunlight and spring like promise. Despite that the day eventually ended up pretty grey and miserable, as is often the case at this time of year. However that burst of early morning sunshine plus the change in the clocks to British Summer Time gave sufficient rise to the fact that Spring/Summer are just around the corner. Days of sunshine and longer evenings full of light are on the way thankfully.
Of course for us in the optical world that always leads to an increase in demand for sunglasses. Customers and patients want something that is stylish and practical for the summer months. But it is important also to be aware of the health aspects for the eyes that a good pair of sunglasses can provide. As we know and was highlighted recently through the solar eclipse here in the UK, the sun can cause great damage to eyes.
The intense ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun will harm sensitive cells in the eyes, which does eventually affect vision. Experts say it is difficult to isolate the exact amount of damage that UV radiation causes on the eye over a long period. However, a number of studies have shown that the effects build up and may increase the chance of developing eye problems later in life. Long-term exposure to UV rays can affect the eye’s surface as well as its internal structures, sometimes contributing to cataracts (clouding of the lens) and macular degeneration (breakdown of the macula).
Ophthalmologists and optometrists recommend wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes from these harmful effects. The good news is that sunglasses don’t have to be hugely expensive for this purpose.
However these days the consumer needs to be very aware. The market is flooded with websites offering cheap alternatives to traditional shops and opticians. These need to be approached with caution as although there is a good many decent and reputable sites and opticians selling genuine sunglasses there is also many out there selling products that are quite simply fake. A report in Which Magazine from August 2013 found in 2012 that 45,000 counterfeit Ray Bans were taken out of circulation in the UK alone
It’s not just money you could lose out on when purchasing such products. Fake sunglasses could provide inadequate UV protection, leaving your eyes at risk of eye damage I mentioned earlier. There is a reason why brands such as Ray Ban and Persol are so popular and this is because of the quality control and UV eye protection that they provide. It is highly recommended that when you are making such a purchase that you go to an accredited optical practice to obtain your sunglasses. Via this you can receive expert advice and professional care so that you can be confident and assured in your choice of sunglasses knowing that they are a reputable pair of glasses from a trustworthy source. Your eyesight is just far too valuable to risk for the option of saving a few quid! As the saying goes if it looks too good to be true then often if is.
Over the next week I will highlight some of the specific features that you need to look out for when purchasing sunglasses. But before that I would like to remind our patients that we will be closed over the Easter break from Friday April 3rd and will reopen on Tuesday April 7th. I would also like to take the opportunity to wish all those who are celebrating a very happy Easter break.
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