Heading to the beach?

One-time sunglasses avoider, OT ’s web and deputy editor, Emily McCormick, shares why her shades now have a permanent place in her handbag


For many of us, a summer holiday means some much needed down-time and the chance to catch-up on that reading list. But if you’re heading to a beach with some books this summer, don’t let the sun catch you out like it did me. 

Laying on the blazing hot sand during a three week stint in south-east Asia a few years ago, I embraced the chance to indulge in a novel. With it difficult to find the time during the normal 9–5 routine, it had been a holiday to ‘must-read’ for quite some time. 

So, you’ll understand my annoyance when on reclining, the bright sunshine shone in my eyes at whatever spot or position I laid and I couldn’t read the text in front of me (despite repeated attempts through squinted eyes). It was then that I knew that my sunglasses avoiding days had caught up with me. 

With previous holidays having taken me to less sunny European beaches, and UK summers normally failing to fully flourish, I had never previously felt the need to purchase a pair of sunglasses – despite their obvious UV protecting benefits. I’d had the same simple relationship with sunglasses that I had with hats, I couldn’t find anything that suited me so I had long but given up. And until that day on the beach, I had never been noticeably hindered by this choice.

Sitting in the sun with my book pushed to one side, I was annoyed at myself not only because I was unable to perform the simple reading task that I wished to, but because deep down I knew how silly I had been by avoiding the purchase of a pair of sunglasses in the first place. On my return home, I went straight to my local opticians and picked myself out my first adult pair of sunglasses. 

There are many eye health reasons for always having a pair of sunglasses to hand, not only when you are on holiday. On sunny (and even cloudy) days, our eyes can be exposed to UV rays that can be damaging to our eye health and vision. And sunglasses can help protect us from this.

So before packing for your own summer holidays remember to pop a new pair of sunglasses on that much-anticipated holiday shopping list, alongside the sun cream, the insect repellent and, of course, those summer reads.