We're all too familiar with whacking on the SPF the moment we're out in the sun, but do you give the same care and attention to protecting your eyes from sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays?

Long-term exposure to sunlight can increase the risk of multiple health problems including cataracts, temporary eye burns, blindness and even skin cancer. And while sunglasses are usually reserved for particularly sunny days, trips to the seaside or long car journeys, we should

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actually be wearing them a lot more than we probably are already. 

We spoke to Dilip Darjee, Dispensing Optician and eye health expert at Silhouette eyewear to find out what's what when it comes to protecting our precious eyes from the sun. 

How the sun can damage your eyes:

'Studies have shown that too much exposure to the sun can increase the risks of cataract, growths on the eye, and eyelids,' Dilip tells us.'Age-related macular degeneration is now believed to be caused by UV damage to the retina too.'

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When we should be wearing our sunglasses:

'At lot more than you probably already are. Sun damage can occur to the eyes anytime during the year, especially on particularly sunny days, Summer or Winter,' Dilip says. 'In fact, many people believe they don't need to wear sunglasses on a cloudy day, but cloud cover doesn't affect UV levels significantly!'

When UV rays are at their strongest:

'UV is strongest when the sun is at its highest in the sky (usually around 10am – 4pm). This will vary according to season, time of the day, altitude and geographical location.'

'They're also greater in wide-open spaces, especially on reflective surfaces like water and snow. Certain medications can also increase the risk to the body's sensitivity to UV radiation.'

Tips to buying sunglasses to protect your eyes:

  • Lenses that block of 99-100% of both UVA and UVB radiation. They
    should ideally also block 75-80% of visible light for general use.
  • It should block around 90% of visible light for more demanding conditions such as skiing.
  • Wrap-around and slightly oversized frames offer better protection from the harmful UV radiation.
  • Polarised lenses are also better at eliminating glare for driving and on water.    Via

What do you think?