They are a staple for celebrities and a must-have for supermodels but sunglasses are far more than a simple fashion accessory.

A good quality pair of sunnies will feature an array of eye health benefits, protecting you from potentially harmful rays and ensuring your vision is protected, whatever the weather. The latest designer frames will look great on the beach this summer but they also have a role to play on  cloudier days, blocking ultraviolet light and keeping you safe.

Here’s our list of five reasons why it’s sensible to wear sunglasses.

Skin cancer
It’s highly likely that you wear sun cream to help protect yourself against skin cancer, but be honest – do you apply anything to your eyelids? Up to 10 per cent of all skin cancers originate on the eyelids and conjunctival cancer — which affects the membrane lining behind the eyelid — can also be caused by overexposure to UV rays. So, when you next reach for the Factor 20, close your eyes and apply sunscreen to your entire face, and be sure to wear UV-blocking sunglasses to give that sensitive eyelid skin added protection.

Macular degeneration
Macular degeneration is a leading cause of vision loss in people aged 60 and over, with studies suggesting that UV light may increase risk. The age-related condition is caused over time by damage affecting the retina. Although the link is not conclusive, it stands to reason that overexposure to UV rays could damage the retina and contribute to the development of macular degeneration.

Cataracts
Prolonged UV exposure can lead to cataracts, the most common cause of vision loss in people aged 40 and over. Characterized by clouding of the eyes’ natural lenses, cataracts can be treated with surgery before vision loss is permanent.

Photokeratitis
Also called ultraviolet keratitis, this painful eye condition is essentially a sunburn of the eye. The good news is that photokeratitis is temporary. The bad news is that you’re likely to endure 48 hours of pain including blurred vision and light sensitivity. Avoid it by sporting a pair of goof quality sunglasses with UV-blocking lenses.

Surfer’s eye
UV radiation is the primary cause of a pterygium, a benign growth on the eyeball. The condition typically affects 30 to 50-year-olds and is sometimes known as “surfer’s eye,” because surfers are particularly susceptible to UV damage given the amount of time they spend in the sun — and water. As well as causing general discomfort and blurred vision, a pterygium could result in permanent disfigurement of the eye.

Browse our range of the latest designer sunglasses, featuring brands such as Maui Jim, Ray-Ban and Tiffany, as well as specialist sports sunglasses, in our frame gallery now.

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