Sunglasses advice in 60 seconds

Video on the damage caused by UV (ultra violet) light and what steps to take to prevent it

Few people consider the damage of UV (ultra violet) light to their eyes but just as it causes premature ageing in the skin, UV also causes premature ageing in the eyes.

A new video from the Association of Optometrists (AOP) is helping the public protect their eyes this summer, advising on the damage caused by the sun and what steps to take to protect them.

The impact of UV light can be wide reaching, from changing the appearance of the eye to causing serious diseases and conditions. Ceri Smith-Jaynes, optometrist and AOP spokesperson, explains: “Over time, damage can cause growths on the eyelid, it can make the eye less white and less smooth, and more lumpy and yellow, or cause tumours on the eyelid. UV damage can also lead to cataracts, impairing vision.”

The easiest way to protect eyes from UV light is to wear a good quality pair of sunglasses, Ms Smith-Jaynes continued, elaborating that: “When choosing sunglasses, always go for a pair with the CE mark. This indicates that they have full UV protection. Glasses that sit closer to the eye and wrap-around, blocking out more light, are usually better but wear a hat to reduce light coming over the top as well.”

Addressing UV filters in contact lenses, she added: “Some contact lenses will have UV protection, some won’t, so check the packaging or speak to your optometrist to be sure. However, don’t forget that, even if your contact lenses have a UV block, they will only cover a certain area of your eye – the area outside this, usually the white of the eye and the eyelids, are still vulnerable to UV damage. So you should also wear sunglasses.”

Ms Smith-Jaynes finished by reminding the public that they should never look directly at the sun, saying: “Even if you are wearing sunglasses looking at the sun is just not safe, the damage can happen in seconds and is not repairable.”

The AOP advises on three steps for protecting your eyes against sun damage: 

  1. Wear CE marked sunglasses, even if you are using contact lenses with a UV filter
  2. Add extra protection with a wide brimmed sun hat
  3. Never look at the sun directly – even if it’s just for a few seconds
Association of Optometrist 60 second advice: sunglasses is the first in a series of short advice videos designed for patients. 


High res images are available via this link. 

For more information, please contact Emily Campbell, PR and Marketing Officer, at the Association of Optometrists, [email protected] or telephone 020 7549 2040.

Notes to Editors

Association of Optometrists

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) is the leading representative membership organisation for optometrists and other optical professionals in the UK. We support our community of more than 16,500 members to fulfil their professional roles to protect the nation’s eye health. As a founding member of the Optical Confederation we work with others to improve eye health for the public good. For more information, visit About us

Optometry Today

Optometry Today (OT) has an audience of 15,000 members and subscribers. OT was named as the ‘Best Professional Association or Royal College magazine’ at the MemCom 2016 Awards. Organised by MemCom – the networking organisation for membership marketing professionals – the awards recognise and celebrate excellence within the membership sector. The OT website offers subscribers exclusive access to over 65 CET exams per year, including bi-monthly CET video content.

Caring for your eyes

The AOP have provided some practical advice for caring for eyes, view the video and read more in Top tips for health eyes.


A cataract happens when the lens within your eye becomes cloudy. It can happen to all of the lens or just part of it. There are different types of cataract, but the most common is age-related cataract, which is more common in people over 65. It can be found to some degree in almost all older people. Find out more on the AOP advice pages.