Protecting your eyes from UV - The hazards to avoid and the benefits of eye protection

Drivers who don’t wear sunglasses to protect against the dazzling effects of the sun may be inadvertently putting the safety of all roads users at risk, warns the RAC.Department for Transport (DfT) data showing contributory factors in reported road accidents reveals just how many collisions are caused by bright, dazzling sunlight.

It was, in fact, listed as a contributory factor in 2,324 accidents in 2017 – that's over six accidents every day of the year. Dazzling sun was even reported as a factor in 25 fatal accidents.

As the UK summer heats up, it's now even more important that drivers should wear appropriate eyewear to protect themselves against glare and keep themselves and other road users safe.

The consequences of not driving safely due to being blinded by the sun – whether that’s as a result of not wearing sunglasses, not using a vehicle’s sun visor or not slowing down or pulling over – are severe: if a police officer deems you to be driving without due care and attention you would be faced with an on-the-spot fine of £100 and three penalty points on your licence.

The advice, according to Rule 237 of the Highway Code, is for drivers to slow down or pull over if they become “dazzled by bright sunlight.”

This means that, although it’s not a legal requirement to drive wearing sunglasses in bright conditions, you could be breaking the law if you don’t slow down or stop if you become temporarily blinded by the sun.

And in particularly serious cases, police have the power to take the matter to court, where a fine could rise to £5,000.
When it comes to choosing sunglasses it’s essential you pick the right pair, as some could severely hamper your driving.

For example, UK category four sunglasses are illegal to wear when driving as they let less than 8% of light through the lenses - avoid them as they would be illegal for driving in any light conditions!

Speak to your independent opticians for the best advice and recommendation for eye protection, glare protection and the lenses that will offer the best vision.

Here at Robert Stanley Opticians we have a wide range of off-the-shelf sunglasses and prescription sunglasses.  And all our sunglasses offer safe vision when driving and 100% UV protection.

There are 3 main types of tints;

Solid tints - the cheapest type of tint, these lenses absorbs 100% UV and are available in a range of depths of tint and lots of colours.  They can also be graduated (dark at the top and light at the bottom) although this is more about style than practical help.

Polarised - these lenses again offer 100% UV protection and reduce reflected glare off the road surface and are great for water sports as they reduce reflections from the water's surface.  Usually available in Grey, Brown and Green.

Photochromic - these lenses also offer 100% UV protection.  As they absorb UV they go darker.  Standard 'Transitions' lenses do not work in the car but we do offer Drivewear lenses that work behind the windscreen.

We even offer anti-reflection coatings designed by the geniuses at Nikon that reduce reflected road glare during the day as well as headlight glare at night.  Combined with a tint, anti-reflection coating offers the best daytime relief from glare.

Our Put top 5 Tips to better protection from sun glare
  1. Always buy your sunglasses or prescription sunglasses from a reputable retailer or ideally an optician.  As well as giving you the correct advice, you can also avoid buying some of the many counterfeit sunglasses on the market that have little or no UV protection.
  2. Polarising lenses offer the best vision but can occasionally upset the view of some LCD screens for satnavs etc.  You may also notice the thermal toughening patterns in your windscreen.
  3. Be careful if you choose photochromic (Transitions, Reactolite etc.) as they do not go dark in the car.  Ask your optician for the best photochromic to suit your needs.
  4. Ultraviolet light is the major cause of cataracts and contributes significantly to macular degeneration so please, wear your sunglasses regularly when driving to get used to the vision and to give you maximum UV protection.  And of course, wear them when you are out in the sun!
  5. Adding an anti-reflection coating to the back surface of sunglass lenses significantly improves UV protection, reduces glare and improves vision.

Drop into your local Robert Stanley Opticians to find out more.  You can find your nearest branch here;

Abingdon 01235 520849
Bicester 01869 360557
Grove 01235 769596
Headington 01865 766488
Thame 01844 261096
Wallingford 01491 837033
Wantage 01235 769596

For Home visits thoughout Oxfordshire, call 01865 766488

Or book online now;

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