Experts warn buying cheap sunglasses abroad could increase risk of blindness and eye cancer

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  • A study has found that 35 per cent of fake branded sunglasses contain zero UV protection, and wearing them could cause irreversible damage.

    Tourists have been warned against buying cheap fake sunglasses such as ‘Ray-Bon’, a knock-off of popular sunglasses brand Ray-Ban, due to the fact they offer no actual protection from the sun’s powerful UV light.

    You don’t even need to buy expensive glasses, as the study claimed that £1.50 ones bought in the UK would still offer greater UV protection than the fake ones bought abroad.

    A survey conducted by Direct Line discovered that 18 per cent of people buying sunglasses don’t check for UV protection. Even worse, 11 per cent would still buy them even if they knew they offered no protection.

    Drivers should always be wearing good eyewear, whether that’s eyeglasses or sunglasses. An added problem for motorists is that many with prescription glasses choose to wear non-prescription sunglasses in bright sunshine, which is very dangerous.


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    Steve Barrett, Head of Motor Insurance at Direct Line said: ‘We urge all motorists to wear appropriate eye protection and prescribed lenses including prescription sunglasses whilst driving.

    ‘If people cannot see to drive safely, either through not wearing the correct prescription lenses or sunglasses to protect from glare, they pose a real danger to themselves and everyone else on our roads.’

    High UV exposure can cause some serious damage to your eyes, including photokeratitis and photoconjunctivitis. These are a kind of sunburn affecting the eyeballs or eyelids.

    Symptoms include redness of the eye, the inability to tolerate light, involuntary closing of the eyelid, and blurry vision. So it’s detrimental to your vision and overall wellbeing if it happens.

    Mild photokeratitis can be treated, but it can also lead to something a lot more serious so it’s important to ensure you’ve got the right amount of UV protection.