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Unprotected exposure to Autumn sunshine can put you at increased risk of suffering common sight-threatening eye conditions such as cataract and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) .


As the sun crosses the celestial equator on the Autumn equinox (September 22 2020 14:30 GMT) the highest point on its trajectory reduces to just 40-degrees. David Cartwright chairman of National Eye Health Week explains: “When the sun is high in the sky our brow bone acts like a built in sun shade and prevents damaging UV light entering the eye. When the sun is low in the sky during Autumn months the total amount of UV radiation your eyes are exposed to dramatically increases.”


Cumulative UV exposure has been found to promote the onset of cataract[1] and has been implicated in the development of a range of other eye conditions including photokeratitis, pterygium and macular degeneration – the UK’s leading cause of blindness.[2]


One simple way you can tell if your eyes are in danger of UV damage is to look at your shadow. If your shadow is shorter than you, you should protect your eyes using a hat, sunglasses or UV protective lenses.


You should also protect your eyes whenever the UV Index rises to three or more. For the latest UV forecast visit the  Met Office website


[1] Linetsky M, Raghavan CT et al. "UVA light-excited kynurenines oxidize ascorbate and modify lens proteins through the formation of advanced glycation end products: implications for human lens aging and cataract formation." Journal of Biological Chemistry, May 2014. DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M114.554410

[2] UV and the eye, review of the latest research, Professor James Wolffsohn, Aston University, 2012