Saturday 24 February 2018

Sponsored Feature: Give your eyes a holiday


Most of us probably think about skin protection when packing for the holidays, but how many of us focus on protecting our most valuable asset – our eyesight?

With the holiday season coming up, sun seekers need to be aware of the dangers of over exposure when it comes to eyesight. Excessive exposure can cause a painful, sunburn-like inflammation to the cornea at the front of the eye. In the long term, this can greatly increase the risk of developing more serious, even sight-threatening conditions.

The sun’s damaging power is heightened by glare, which occurs when UV rays are intensified as they reflect off shiny surfaces, such as glass. A sandy beach or calm sea will have the same effect. Polarised lenses reduce this by using a layer of iodine crystals to absorb the glare. Non-polarised sunglasses have minimal effect, even though they will reduce visible light.

Budget sunglasses can be a false economy – many actually cause the pupil to dilate, increasing the amount of UV light filtering in to the eyes. Many people still choose a cosmetic pair over safety when it is easy to have the best of both.

Here are some top tips for protecting your eyes in the sun:

  • Check sunglasses comply with BSEN 1836:1997 or bear the CE kite mark and are marked UV 400.
  • If you are going on holiday and have prescription sunglasses, take your optician’s phone number with you. If your sunglasses break, your optician can send you on your prescription.
  • Invest in photochromic lenses that instantly adapt to light changes, darkening in bright light. Alternatively have prescription lenses tinted to minimize the amount of UV rays that reach your eyes.
  • By adding polarised lenses you can decrease the amount of glare which can dazzle and strain your vision, particularly useful when you are by the pool or participating in outdoor sports.
  • If you wear weekly or monthly contact lenses, pack enough solution in your luggage.
  • Take at least one spare pair of contact lenses and make sure you have a pair of prescription glasses as well, to give your eyes a rest from the lenses during your break.
  • If you're hiring a car, make sure you bring your glasses for driving back in the dark; otherwise you may end up having to drive home in sunglasses. It is a legal requirement to carry a spare pair of glasses if driving in some countries.
  • The air in planes can often dry the surface of the eyes, making them uncomfortable and sore. On long flights it may be advisable to remove your contact lenses for the duration of the flight and use a pair of prescription glasses. This will prevent your eyes from feeling 'gritty' and tired
  • If you're planning to do a lot of swimming, don’t swim in contact lenses, but wear a pair of swimming goggles instead (prescription if required) which will not only protect your eyes against water-borne infections, but also help to protect your eyes against the glare of the sun.

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