It is International Sunglasses Day and we are encouraging everyone to make sure they are wearing properly rated sunglasses.  As we continue to heighten awareness of the damage UV rays can cause to skin, even fewer people appreciate the damage you can cause to your eyes.

We asked one of our Melanoma UK advocates, Mark Blankstone from Blankstone Opticians in Liverpool, for some advice when it comes to protecting your eyes from UV radiation. 

Mark said "Prolonged exposure of the eyes to UV is linked to cataracts, macular degeneration and yes even ocular melanoma.

In the height of summer, people need to wear a pair of sunglasses or UV blocking contact lenses that offer high levels of UV protection. Even on a cloudy day, when it’s unlikely you will be wearing sunglasses, the eye can be exposed to UV radiation."

"Sunglasses don’t need to be expensive but they should always conform to agreed safety standards."

"Choose larger styles that cover more of the face and ensure that the frames fit well as these will allow less light in at the sides, therefore increasing protection for your eyes."

"Wraparound styles are especially good for sports and other outdoor pursuits. They are better in the reduction of glare and protection from sun exposure."

Let us all check our 'sunnies' and make sure they provide adequate protection – not all do. Check for a CE (European Community Standard), BS EN 12312-1:2013 (British Standard) or UV400 markings and aim for a pair that offer 80 percent light reduction.