Post date: 
Monday, 2 July 2018

Bright sunlight, pollen and swimming can be irritating or even harmful to our eyes. Louise Gow, Specialist Lead for Eye Health at RNIB shares her “Big Three” health tips for how you can protect your eyes this summer.

Person leaning against tree wearing eyeshields and holding a gadget
1. Getting the right sunglasses

One of the biggest misconceptions about protection from sunglasses is that darker lenses will protect your eyes more, but that’s not the case. 

Sunglasses protect you from two things, ultraviolet light and glare from the sun. When choosing sunglasses, make sure they have the CE and British Standard Mark; this ensures you will be protected from ultraviolet light.

You don’t need to buy a specific brand of glasses for people who are blind or partially sighted. The most important thing to remember is that wraparound sunglasses will help you more than just an off-the-shelf sunglasses frame.  

The sun isn’t directly in front of you; it’s above and at the side of you too. So if you don’t have wraparound sunglasses, you’re not going to protect your eyes fully from the glare.  

When it comes to the colour of the tint, it’s purely down to your personal preference. There are some eye conditions where specific colours are thought to be better than others, but it really does depend on you. 

My advice is to shop around and try different colours to see which ones you think help the most. Lenses with yellow tints cut out the blue end of the spectrum so they’ll enhance contrast and make things look bolder. 

Equally, you might find that it’s worth trying a dark grey or dark brown tint and see which one helps you see best. One may cut the glare out more than the other, but it does come down to what you feel more comfortable in.

Traditional sunglasses for people with sight loss are not very pretty. You might want to go for a sports range. A lot of the ones that cyclists and runners use are ideal because they contour right round the side of your face and won’t let light in from any direction.

With sports sunglasses though, you may be restricted to a small range of colour tints so although they look good, they might not actually do the job.