If you are anything like me, you are holding your breath for the beginning of summer to roll around!

And let's be honest, where else in the world would you want to be than right here in Tauranga — miles and miles of beautiful sandy beaches, warm sunny days, waves, water, family and fun all rolled up into one!

Yeah yeah, I know you know — Slip, Slop, Slap, and Wrap ... but let's talk about that 'wrap' — those are your sunnies (for those who forgot!)

It's important to know that not all sunglasses do an equally good job at protecting your eyes. Higher price, darker colours or shiny coatings does not necessarily mean better protection!

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This is what to look for: your sunglass lenses should block 99-100 per cent of UVA and UVB. Not sure about yours? Pop into our Mount store and we can check for you. Also, all the sunglasses we have in stock will provide 100 per cent UV protection — and we'll make sure you look good too!

Not sure if it's worth it? Here's what the harmful UV rays can lead to:

1 Cataracts — This is when the lens inside your eye becomes less and less transparent, to a point where it needs to be surgically removed for you to have clear vision again. Many studies have confirmed that exposure to UV expedites the development of cataracts ... (If everyone lived long enough, every person on the face of the planet would develop cataracts, but you can have some say in the rate of onset by protecting the eyes from UV).

2 The big C — As with all areas of your skin, eye cancers can develop due to exposure to UV. These can develop on the lids, the sensitive skin around the eye, or even on the eye itself. Studies have shown bigger sunglasses offer more protection to the skin around your eyes (which makes sense doesn't it?!

3 Eye growths — Ever been told you have a pinguecula or pterygium? Yeah, funny words that refer to growths on the eye. They can have a yellowy, jelly-like appearance or become quite red and inflamed at times. Mostly these are not harmful, but sometimes they continue to grow and have to be surgically removed. If in doubt, please make sure you get a professional to have a look.

4 Crow's feet — For the ladies and gents who care. We all know the sun (UV), leads to premature ageing of the skin and probably more wrinkles than anyone cares for. By wearing your sunglasses, you protect the sensitive skin around your eyes and therefore can delay the process of wrinkles forming around your eyes.

5 Macular degeneration — That is when the central part of your vision is irreversibly damaged and in most cases this condition becomes worse over time. Studies have shown UV exposure can put you at a higher risk for developing it.

— Hester Du Plessis is a therapeutically qualified optometrist at blureyecare.co.nz

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