It’s not just midday sun we need to worry about!

As New Zealanders we know how to protect ourselves from getting sunburn, but when it comes to our eyes, we are often a little too relaxed or don’t have enough information to prevent UV damage.

As we head into the summertime, it’s a good time to give you some information about UV damage and your eyes. Most people would assume that the sun is at it’s strongest in the middle of the day but harmful UV exposure to eyes peaks in the early morning and late afternoon.

We are often accustomed to wearing our sunglasses to stop glare during the middle of the day, but research from Japan suggest that we need to protect our eyes from the suns harmful rays when the sun is lower in the sky, such as early and late in the day, because of the angle of the sun in relation to the eyes.

Over time, UV exposure seriously and irreversibly damages our eyes. UV exposure slowly damages the structures in our eyes and cause eye conditions such as macular degeneration, cataracts and pterygium.

Our optometrist Melissa Hay, says “Unlike sunburn, the effect of UV exposure on eyes isn’t easy to notice, so it’s important to wear sunglasses every time people are exposed to the sun.”

“Only wearing sunglasses in the middle of the day doesn’t cut it. We need to get into the habit of wearing wrap-around style sunglasses that are 100% UV light protective throughout the whole day, even when it’s cloudy,” states Melissa.

Getting into this habit is particularly important for children – 80% of UV damage to eyes is done before the age of 20, so UV protection is vital from a young age not just when we get older.

At Milford Optometrists we have a range of solutions to solve your UV woes. Come in and talk to us about our range of prescription sunglasses which start from $349 and offer 100% UV blockage. We have sunglasses for kids too so bring them along – we are sure to have a set to suit.

One of our popular choices are the Fitovers© options by Johnathan Paul. Fitovers© are designed to fit over your current glasses and provide a supreme level of protection against UV and visible light – blocking out 100% of UVA and UVB. They have increase blocking power from above and around the sides when compared to regular wrapped sunglasses with their built in “brow bar” and “built in polarised side lenses”. Pop in and ask us about these exciting sunglass options.

Some interesting little key facts and tips to protect your eyes from the sun and UV damage.

Key Facts:

· The eyes are the only internal tissues of the body directly exposed to UV light

· UV damage is cumulative and irreversible

· UV accelerates the appearance of cataract

· 40% of annual UV exposure occurs when we are not in full sunlight

· 80% of UV damage to eyes is done before the age of 20

Top tips for protecting your eyes from UV damage:

· Always wear sunglasses when you’re outside in the sun – not just during the middle of the day and not just when it’s a particularly bright day

· Check that your sunglasses block 100% UVA and UVB rays from the sun

· Wear a wide brimmed hat to protect your eyes even further

Don’t look directly at the sun, even with your sunglasses on this will cause UV damage to your eyes.