Focus on sunglasses

There’s much more to wearing sunglasses than looking stylish. In fact investing in a good pair has a whole host of very real benefits. 

Why should I wear shades? 

Sunglasses lenses are tinted to cut out the ultraviolet rays (UV) from the sun, protecting your eyes and also the lids and skin around them.  

These UV rays can cause real damage to your eyes over the years, with excessive and prolonged exposure potentially leading to a number of problems such as early cataracts and macular degeneration in later life. 

If you have very blue or pale coloured eyes it’s even more important to wear sunglasses as they reduce the amount of radiation reaching the back of the eye. 

Most sunglasses offer full UV protection, cutting out UV to a level required by EU law. You can check they comply with these regulations by making sure they are labelled with the CE mark.  

What is UV 400? 

You may have heard the phrase ‘UV 400’ when talking about the best level of protection offered by sunglasses. This means they block all light rays with wavelengths up to 400 nanometers. 

It’s a bit unclear where ultraviolet ends on the spectrum and blue light begins so the 400nm mark takes in some of the blue light of the spectrum to offer even more protection to the eye. 

Dan Edwards, Patrick & Menzies Partner and Dispensing Optician, explained: “UV 400 is the belt and braces option for sunglasses. By cutting out some of the blue light it means you are definitely blocking all of the UV and this helps to further reduce glare which is particularly useful if you wear your sunglasses for driving. 

“You may also come across polarised lenses when shopping for sunglasses. This means they are designed to be even better at reducing glare and they make a huge difference to the comfort of your vision.” 

Most off the shelf sunglasses conform to the UV 400 measure, while our prescription sunglasses are made to order and we can make sure the tint is dark enough to filter out all of the UV. 

Should children wear sunglasses? 

As most damage caused by UV light is accrued over a number of years it really is of benefit for children to get used to wearing sunglasses from a young age. 

Dan added: “The skin around a child’s eyes is delicate and wearing sunglasses is probably as important as having sun cream on their faces. If they need to wear normal glasses all the time, ideally, they should have prescription sunglasses to wear outside on bright days.” 

How do I pick the right pair? 

When choosing your sunglasses, it’s important you pick a pair that is comfortable both when it comes to the fit of the frames and the tint of the lens. 

Lenses come in many different colours from grey and blue to green and brown and the right one for you will simply be down to personal preference. Get it wrong and your vision will feel uncomfortable. 

When shopping for sunglasses try to go on a sunny day so you can test them out and try three or four different options to find the right one. 

In terms of frames, choose a pair that is slightly bigger than standard glasses and is fairly tight fitting, but not so much that the lenses steam up. If they are very flat fronted you may end up seeing a reflection of your own eye in the lens which can be distracting so try to choose a frame that is slightly curved. 

Check out our selection of sunglasses online


Summer Eyecare

While enjoying sunnier days and warmer temperatures it’s important to remember to take care of your eyes. 

Here is our quick guide to some of the ways you can protect your peepers during the summer months. 

Sunglasses are a must, whatever your age 

Wearing sunglasses offers your eyes protection against UV rays which, over the years, can cause significant damage to your eyes.  

By wearing a good quality pair of sunglasses you’re not just protecting the eye itself but the skin around it, reducing the risk of skin cancer. 

Most sunglasses offer full UV protection, cutting out UV to a level required by EU law. Look out for the CE mark to show they conform with legislation.  

As long as there are no other sight issues children should also wear sunglasses on bright days. Most damage caused by UV light is accrued over a number of years, so protecting your eyes from a young age can be a real benefit. 

Consider the colour of the lenses as well as the size and fit of the sunglasses around your face and go for a pair that cuts out as much light as possible without steaming up or causing inconvenient reflections. 

Sand in your eye? Don’t rub it! 

There’s nothing better than a sunny day at the beach – until the wind whips up and you find yourself with sand in your eye. If this happens there is one firm rule – don’t rub it! 

By rubbing your eye, you are much more likely to scratch the front of it. Even if the sand comes out it will still feel like you have something in there and you open yourself up to infection. 

Let your eye water as tears are the body’s natural defence mechanism. Try to let the tears flow and don’t rub them away as they will help to flush out any debris. You can also try very gently pulling the lower lid away from the eye slightly to let the tears flow and well up which should help wash the sand out. 

If the irritation continues use an eyebath to soothe your eye, and if it still doesn’t ease then call your optician so they can take a closer look and recommend what you need to do next. 

Contact lenses and swimming don’t mix 

As a general rule wearing contact lenses while swimming is a no no. For serious swimmers or those who are in the water a lot, ideally opt for a pair of prescription goggles. Otherwise wear an old pair of glasses that you wouldn’t mind losing or damaging as a worst-case scenario. 

Combating hay fever 

Sadly, one of the downsides of summer for many people is hay fever. 

Sufferers often find their eyes become red and itchy with swelling or puffiness around the eyes.  

Over the counter treatments such as antihistamine eye drops are usually the best course of action to combat hay fever symptoms. If after a week there is no improvement and your eyes are still dry, itchy and red you should make an urgent appointment at your opticians to make sure you’re not suffering from a different eye condition. 

Sporting specs 

If warmer weather tempts you to play more sport, it’s worth considering investing in eyewear that fits the bill. 

Sports frames and prescription goggles really can make a difference to your performance and are much safer, too. To find out more about specialist sporting eyewear take a look at our blog. [link to Glasses, Goggles and Contact Lenses for Sports | Patrick & Menzies (patrickandmenzies.co.uk)

Check out our selection of sunglasses online.