Nathan Wyburn posed with giant eye mascots The Protectors in Cardiff today (30 June), as a new survey reveals people in Wales expose their unprotected eyes to dangerous levels of UV light during the summer months.
The Think About Your Eyes campaign found that Welsh people are exposing themselves to an average of 1 hour and 47 minutes of sunlight every day, seven times over the safe daily limit recommended by experts*, and damaging their vision despite over half (52%) knowing the dangers.
Nathan shares his reasons for getting involved: “There’s nothing better than being out in the sun but it’s also important that people remember to look after their sight. That’s why we’re here today – to help people become more sun savvy when it comes to their eyes. People may not realise that, even on cloudy days, they are still exposed to damaging UV rays. Something as simple as making sure the lenses of your sunglasses or glasses are UV protected can really make a difference.”
Giant eye mascots, “The Protectors”, are travelling around the country this summer as part of the Think About Your Eyes campaign’s awareness raising efforts. The Protectors were handing out information to city workers and shoppers in Cardiff throughout the morning.
Local dispensing optician, Charlotte Magness from Medi-Optics in Thornhill Road, Llanishen shares her thoughts on the campaign.
“People may not think that exposure to UV is a big problem in the UK but in July it takes just 15 minutes to exceed the UV exposure limit for one eight hour day. According to the met office today’s UV levels in Cardiff stand at 7 (out of 11) which is considered high.
“The message seems to be sinking in about protecting our skin but we are still guilty of neglecting our eyes and it’s shocking that Wales had the highest level of UV exposure in the UK. Damage from UV rays builds up over time and is irreversible, contributing to serious eye diseases which can result in a dramatic loss of vision.”
“It’s important to remember that UV rays can reach us even on overcast days so wearing sunglasses during the summer months is essential. What people may not realise is that they can also get UV protection built into their prescription lenses. Just as you’d check the SPF on your sunscreen, ask your local optician about the E-SPF on your spectacles. Taking action now can help save your sight in the long term and that’s why we’re encouraging everyone to check their level of UV risk by using the E-SPF UV Riskometer at thinkaboutyoureyes.co.uk”
Alongside Nathan, the Think About Your Eyes campaign is backed by independent opticians across the UK and the British Skin Foundation – which shares a mutual goal of raising awareness of the dangers of UV light.
To find out more and check your personal UV exposure, visit the E-SPF UV Riskometer at: thinkaboutyoureyes.co.uk or pop into Medi-Optics to see Charlotte and her team at Thornhill Road, Llanishen and Maryport Road, Roath Park.
Charlotte Magness shares her tips about practising safe sun this summer:
– Invest in a wide-brimmed hat to reduce the UV ray exposure to the skin around your eyes & indeed your eyes.
– Wear sunglasses, or spectacle lenses with built in UV protection, on sunny days (always look for the CE mark on sunglasses to ensure they offer UV-protection) – this should be as much of a priority as wearing sunscreen
– Stay in the shade and try and avoid peak times for UV exposure – this is the middle of the morning and afternoon.
– If you wear prescription spectacles consider a lens that offers a good level of UV protection – look for a high E-SPF value for glasses, just as you’d look for SPF for sunscreen – ask your local optician to find out more
– If you wear contact lenses consider a lens that offers a good level of UV protection
– Use the E-SPF UV Riskometer to check your level of risk at thinkaboutyoureyes.co.uk
– Discuss your UV exposure and risk with your local optician. Regular eye exams can help identify early eye damage and are extremely beneficial for your long-term eye and general health.
Are we sun savvy enough?
|Activity||% of people in Wales who take precautions for their eyes|
|On holiday abroad||62%|
|On holiday in the UK||50%|
|Popping outside for more than 15 minutes on a lunch break||32%|
|Sightseeing in a city||48%|
|Day at the beach||60%|
|Doing outdoor sports||18%|
|None of the above||14%|