#ThinkUV: separating truth from myth about UV damage

Thursday, 10 August 2017 by Callan Smith-Sheerin
bright-sun-over-field

We’ve teamed up with eye research charity Fight for Sight to #ThinkUV this summer. There’s lots of confusion around UV about how and when it can damage your eyes. That’s why we’ve decided to separate the myths from the truths so you know how to keep your eyes safe.

Find out which of the below are true...


1) UV damage to your eyes can be reversed

Myth: Unfortunately, the damage caused by overexposure to UV is cumulative. This means that it gradually builds up, and doesn't just go away after some time. Make sure you avoid letting your eyes get damaged in the first place and take care to protect them.


2) In the UK, UV exposure is highest in the summer

Myth: Although you’re more likely to be reaching for your sunglasses during summer, UV is just as high in other seasons. That means it’s just as good an idea to pop on a pair of shades on a sunny December morning as it is on a hot July afternoon!


cloudy field

3) You don’t need to wear sunglasses on a cloudy day

Myth: Clouds only reduce the amount of UV that you expose your eyes to by about 10%. This means that, even on overcast days, your sunglasses can help protect you from causing lasting damage to your eyes.


4) Children are more vulnerable to UV exposure than adults

Truth: As you get older, your eye’s lens adapts to conditions and naturally absorbs more UV to protect your retina. Children under 5 do not have as developed eyes and so it’s especially important that they’re as well-protected from UV exposure as possible.


5) Darker tinted lenses will provide more UV protection

sun high in sky

Myth: The tint of a sunglasses lens has no effect on UV protection. While wearing darker lenses means that less light will enter your eye and will help you see better, the same amount of UV is blocked as if you were wearing shades with a lighter tint.


6) All sunglasses offer UV protection

Myth: Not all sunglasses are made equal! To be sure that your shades block UV, you should look out for the ‘CE’ mark. This guarantees that they have been made to the European standard for UV protection and that they’ll keep your eyes safe.


7) Your eyes are 10x more sensitive to UV than your skin

Truth: Your eyes are even more susceptible to burning than your skin. As it’s harder to tell when your eyes are getting burnt than it is when your skin starts turning red, it’s easy to end up doing lasting damage to your eyes without knowing.


8) UV levels are higher in tropical areas

Truth: The further you live from the equator, the less at risk you are from UV damage to your eyes. If you’re lucky enough to be off anywhere exotic or exciting, remember that UV levels are more intense at both higher altitudes and in tropical areas that lie near the equator.

Two good examples of the different kinds of places that can have high UV exposure is Colorado and the Philippines, where you'll find some of the highest levels of UV in the world. If you’re heading up somewhere high for a holiday or if you’re in country that resides near the equator you should wear sunglasses as much as possible!


9) Exposure to UV can lead to an eye condition

sunny outside car window

Truth: Frequent exposure to UV can lead to the development of eye conditions such as cataracts and macular degeneration, both of which can impair sight and even cause partial or total blindness. This is why it’s so important to wear sunglasses whenever you can to avoid potentially life-changing damage.


10) All car windows have UV filters

Myth: A study in the US found that side windows blocked only 71% of UV rays, compared with the windscreen, which blocks 96% of them. It’s therefore just as important that you wear sunglasses as passenger in a car as it is for the driver to wear them.


We want to see you #ThinkUV! Share your sunglasses selfies with us on Facebook and Twitter using #ThinkUV and we’ll donate £3 to Fight for Sight to help them fund vital research into eye health. Ends 30/8



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