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Fashion or function: 65% of people in North West unconcerned or unaware about UV exposure to their eyes


Many of us are aware of the damage the sun has on our skin, but a quarter of us are unconcerned – or unaware – of the damage it’s having on our eyes, according to a study conducted by Specsavers.

The study offers insight into the public’s view on sun protection and their eyes.

Frequent exposure to the sunlight’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause irreparable damage to your sight — especially if you aren’t protecting your eyes correctly.

Short-term overexposure to these harmful rays can lead to photokeratitis — a type of sunburn of the eye – while long-term overexposure can lead to cataracts, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and even some types of eye cancer.

And while sunglasses are essential to protecting the eyes from sun damage, 71 per cent of people in North West confessed that their sunglasses looking good was at the forefront of their decision making when making a purchase.

Whether the style fits their face also took priority over the UV protection rating.

When buying sunglasses consumers should look out for one of the three rating to show they meet safety standards: a CE (European Community Standard),a BSEN1836 (British Standard) or a UV400 rating.

But the research revealed that 51 per cent people in North West overlook UV protection ratings when buying sunglasses – or don’t know what it means.

Meanwhile, 65 per cent of buyers in North West purchase sunglasses without checking how well they protect their eyes from the sun.

In fact, 53 per cent of people in North West confessed they usually opt for cheaper sunglasses – which typically offer less UV protection – as they are afraid of losing or breaking a more expensive pair.

The survey, conducted via OnePoll, also found the average adult is willing to spend up to £71.50 on a pair of sunglasses.

And 36 per cent of people in North West admitted that despite wearing prescription glasses, they do not own prescription sunglasses.

Giles Edmonds, Specsavers’ clinical services director says: ‘Despite public perceptions, sunglasses don’t have to be expensive to offer protection from the sun.

‘It’s essential that sunglasses meet the safety standards to protect against UV damage. Sunglasses are not just a fashion accessory – they’re a legitimate form of sun protection.

‘All of Specsavers’ sunglasses meet the highest standard when it comes to UV protection. Pop into your local store or browse online to find your perfect pair.’

The nation’s favourite style of sunglasses:

  • Aviator
  • Oval
  • Round
  • Rectangle
  • Sport
  • Wrap
  • Aviator-style
  • Square
  • Cat-Eye
  • Shield
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