Protect your eyes from those harmful UV rays


Cheap or expensive, clear or dark lenses – none of that matters when it comes to how well your sunglasses protect your eyes from ultraviolet (UV) rays.

A day in the sun can be nice, but the symptoms you’re likely to experience if your eyes are exposed to too much sun definitely aren’t.

These can include severe pain, swelling, tearing, and even temporary reduced vision.

According to the Professional Association of Ophthalmologists in Germany (BVA), your sunglasses should have a UV400 level to provide sufficient protection against harmful UV rays.

It is also sufficient if your sunglasses say “100% UV protection” or “UV absorption up to 400nm”.

Alternatively, you can try a cap with a protective visor that has a UV index of 3.

Sure, spend more on a nicer pair of sunglasses, but don’t assume that means better protection.

In fact, even the cheapest pair of sunglasses can have sufficient UV400 protection, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Also, don’t assume that polarized or dark lenses in your sunglasses will help protect your eyes.

Darker lenses don’t mean more protection, the academy says.

And the same goes for polarization, which itself does not offer UV protection, but merely reduces glare from reflective surfaces like water.

While ophthalmologists say the color and level of darkness won’t change how well your eyes are protected, the size of the lens does change, as smaller goggles won’t give you as much UV protection as larger ones.

In more southern countries and places by the sea or in the mountains, the eyes are particularly exposed to solar radiation, according to ophthalmologists.

Indeed, a good pair of sunglasses will protect the surface of your eyes from sunburn.

But if your eyes have been exposed to too much UV radiation from the sun, you’ll notice it soon.

Sore eyes, swollen conjunctiva, profuse tearing, and temporary reduction in vision are all likely if your eyes get too much sun exposure.

However, the symptoms are likely to disappear after eight to 12 hours, according to ophthalmologists.

If you wear contact lenses, ophthalmologists say you shouldn’t just take a break from your usual holiday hygiene rules and make sure you pack enough cleaning and care products in your suitcase.

Even if you don’t plan on wearing glasses, it can be handy to pack a pair, as your eyes can get irritated or dry in different weather conditions and prolonged exposure to air conditioning on the plane or hotel.

Especially in areas where air conditioning systems are common, you’ll want to bring a bottle of eye drops with you.

According to the BVA, drinking plenty of fluids can also help.

If you rely on eye drops and eye medications, these should be stored properly.

This means preferably in a cooler to avoid the heat. – dpa


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