Best sunglasses to protect your eyes

It's great to get outside and enjoy the sunshine, but make sure you take care of your eyes.

"Whilst people understand the importance of protecting our skin from the sun, many underestimate the effects of the sun on our eyes," says Samantha Watson, optometrist at Boots Opticians.

"Our eyes are delicate organs, up to 10 times more sensitive to UV damage than our skin, so it is important to provide effective protection. Whether you are spending time directly in the sun or in the shade, your eyes should be well protected."

Follow our top tips to help protect your eyes this summer...

SEE ALSO: How your eyes could signal a health problem

See also: Using a computer is worse for your eyes than you thought

1. Look for the UV protection mark
When buying a new pair of sunglasses, make sure they offer high levels of UV protection. "Despite coming in many stylish shapes and sizes, not all sunglasses can effectively protect your eyes from UV rays," says Samantha.

When choosing sunglasses look for the 'CE' mark which is the European community standard and British Standard (EN ISO 12312-1:2013) on the inside arm of your sunglasses. You might also see a 100% UV protection or UV 400 label on the lenses.

2. Check they fit well
Make sure they fit well to minimise stray light entering your eyes either from the sides or the top, through the gap between your face and the lenses. If you are confused or unsure about how effective your sunglasses are, take them to your local opticians.

3. Protect yourself in the shade
"It's a common misconception that you only need to wear sunglasses when the sun's out," says Samantha. "In fact, your eyes need protection all year around, as cloud may only reduce UV exposure by 10%."

Consider wearing sunglasses especially in the morning and afternoon when the sun is lower in the sky, as your brow ridge is less able to provide natural shade than when the sun is high overhead.

"Even when you are in the shade, you should still consider wearing sunglasses, as UV rays can be reflected in to your eyes from surfaces such as concrete and water," adds Samantha.

4. Kids' eyes need protection too
As many as 70% of children in the UK still don't wear sunglasses, despite generally spending more time outdoors than adults.

"It is important to look after children's eyes. They have wider pupils and clearer lenses, so their eyes are more vulnerable to UV penetration to their retina and more exposed to potential sun damage," says Samantha.

Toy sunglasses are unlikely to filter UV light and the dark lenses may cause the pupil to dilate allowing more UV light to enter the eye. Visit your local opticians and they will help to find a stylish pair that also offers the recommended UV protections.

If you need a new pair of shades, here are three that offer good UV protection...

1. Womens Polarised Brown Small Wrap Sunglasses £21.00

Polarised lenses help to reduce glare and improve comfort and visibility. This pair also have wide arms, so are good at blocking out light to the side of the eye.

2. Active Navy and Yellow Rubber Wrap Sports Sunglasses £15.00

Rubber frames are a good option if you enjoy playing sports, or just find normal sunglasses uncomfortable. This pair comes with solid smoke lens.

3. Mens Polarised Retro Aviator Metal Sunglasses, £24.75

These classic aviator-style sunglasses for men look good, while also offering the proper UV protection.

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