Summer’s here, and the sun is showing its face again. The first warm days that lured us out of doors are behind us. While most of us wouldn’t leave home on a summer’s day without proper clothing, a hat and sufficient sunblock to protect us from UV (ultraviolet) light, many forget to wear sunglasses. They’re much more than a mere fashion accessory. Most importantly, they protect your eyes from the sunlight.
Harmful UV radiation
If you’re spending more time outdoors for work or leisure, you should protect yourself from the sun. Around 4% of the sun's rays are UV rays. You can’t feel or see them on your skin. But if you’re exposed for too long they can damage your eyes, as well as lead to sunburn and even skin cancer. In and on the water, or in the snow, the UV radiation can be up to ten times more intense than normal. To protect your eyes – and even more importantly your children’s – optimally from glare and UV rays, you need suitable eyewear.
What does this mean precisely?
There’s no such thing as all-round sunglasses. Joggers, swimmers, drivers and skiers all have different requirements when it comes to their vision and protecting their eyes. For example, some sunglasses aren’t appropriate for driving and are marked “not suitable for traffic”.
When you buy sunglasses you should look out for the CE marking
on the inside of the arm, which indicates that they meet the minimum UV protection requirements under SN/EN 1836. Beyond this, OPTIKSCHWEIZ/OPTIQUESUISSE
(the optometrists’ and opticians’ association; website in German) distinguishes between different types of lens that can be used for different purposes:
- Graduated (lenses with a tint running from dark to light): ideal for a day out shopping or walking around town. Not recommended for snow.
- Full view (lenses with a uniform tint): it’s particularly important to have this type of lens if the light is reflected from below.
- Polarising: ideal for water sports and fishing.
- Photochromic: for general use, but not suitable for extreme situations.
- Mirrored: good for mountaineering and skiing.
All about sun protection
You’ll find further useful information and tips related to sun protection on our health tip “Staying safe in the sun”, on the OPTIKSCHWEIZ/OPTIQUESUISSE
website (in german), or from the Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO)
(in German, French and Italian).