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Four ways to protect your eyes in summer

It's not just your skin that you need to think about protecting in the warm weather, says Liz Connor

Seeing sense: wearing the right sunglasses is vitally important
Seeing sense: wearing the right sunglasses is vitally important

We all know that when it's blazing sunshine outside, we should apply sun cream and wear a hat to protect our skin, but when it comes to our eyes, we don't always go that extra mile.

During the summer, our eyes are especially vulnerable to harmful UV light, but according to research, up to 20 million people in the UK may be putting their eye health at risk by not checking the UV rating when they buy sunglasses on the high street.

As studies also reveal that 5-10% of all skin cancers are found on the eyelid, keeping your eyes protected has never been more important. Dan McGhee, director of professional services at Vision Express, gives us his top tips for getting your eyes summer-ready.

1. Start wearing the right sunglasses from a young age

"Up to 80% of a person's lifetime exposure to UV will occur before the age of 18, according to a study by the World Health Organisation, and with UVA sun rays causing premature ageing and age-related illnesses, it is important to protect your eyes from an early age.

"Young people's eyes are more sensitive to UV absorption and under-12s are particularly susceptible, because the clear lenses in their eyes are not yet properly formed."

2. Have regular eye examinations

"The best way to start protecting your eyes is by having regular eye tests at the optician.

"These will highlight any sight problems or damage, such as cataracts, macular degeneration or skin cancer around the eye area, and can determine other health issues, such as high cholesterol and even diabetes."

3. Wear sunglasses even when it's cloudy

"Make sure you wear sunglasses while outdoors at all times, even if your eyes feel fine, as some of the effects of too much light can be delayed, just as in sunburn.

"Prolonged sun exposure has been directly linked to cataract formation and pterygium (a pinkish, triangular tissue growth on the cornea of the eye) and are seen more commonly on people who spend a lot of time outdoors and in hot climates."

4. Consider polarised shades

"Polarised lenses offer the best protection from the sun, blocking indirect glare and reducing the need to squint, which can cause muscle fatigue, headaches and eye strain.

"No longer just a sports essential, coloured lenses are now a big fashion win with celebs - so you won't look out of place on the beach."

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