The ABC of sunglasses

Peter Black, spokesman for the Optical Confederation, says there is an ‘ABC’ of eye conditions caused by over exposure to UV light.

‘A’ is for ageing – conditions such as cataracts and age related macular degeneration can be delayed or prevented if you protect your eyes from UV rays.

‘B’ is for burning of the cornea – sometime called “snow blindness” and you don’t have to be anywhere near snow – it can be caused simply by sunbathing without sunglasses. Symptoms include sore, gritty or watering eyes and sensitivity to sunlight.

‘C’ stands for cancer. UV light is the main case of malignant melanoma and other skin cancers; all can affect the skin around the eye. Malignant melanoma also affects the iris and retina inside the eye.

The obvious way to protect yourself from this ABC of eye conditions is to wear good quality sunglasses and, as Mr Black points out, it’s important to remember that sunglasses should be worn wherever you are in the world – UV light can penetrate clouds so it doesn't even have to be sunny for your eyes to be at risk.