To Help Avoid Cataract & Eye Cancers Caused By Harmful UV Rays

Almost one third (30%) of Leeds residents see wearing sunglasses as a waste of money, new research has revealed. In a survey commissioned by charity Sightsavers and People’s Postcode Lottery, in response to the sunny weather, results have also found that less than a third of Leeds residents (31%) wear sunglasses to protect their eyes from UV damage.

Over a third (38%) of people from Leeds are unaware of the effects that UV damage has on the eyes, more than any other city in the UK (and above the UK-wide figure of 30%). What’s more, 69% of Leeds residents are unaware that UV damage can cause cataracts. 65 million people suffer from cataracts globally, with the World Health Organization (WHO) estimating that 20 per cent are caused by overexposure to UV rays, and are therefore avoidable.

Shading our eyes from UV damage is the most effective way we can protect our eye health. Despite this, one fifth (20%) of Leeds residents don’t see the point of them at all!

Dr Imran Khan, Optometrist and Sightsavers’ Chief Technical Lead says “Sunglasses are not simply a fashion statement. What this survey, from Sightsavers and People’s Postcode Lottery, shows is that most people are not wearing shades to protect their eyes and we want to change that. Not protecting your eyes from UV rays can cause long-term damage and lead to issues developing such as cataracts, and even eye cancers.

“We would recommend that not only should people wear sunglasses whenever it is sunny, but they need to ensure that the style of glasses means their eyes and the area around their eyes is well covered, and that, whatever the cost of the sunglasses, they have a sticker to indicate they meet EU standards and block at least 95% of all UV rays. Sun cream should also be carefully applied to the skin around the eyes to offer additional protection.”

Danyl Johnson, ambassador for People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “This is a really important campaign to remind people that the main purpose of sunglasses, regardless of the cost and style, is whether or not they are going to protect your eyes from sun damage.”

International development charity Sightsavers is helping to provide life-changing inclusive eye health projects, in sub-Saharan Africa, thanks to the players of People’s Postcode Lottery. This funding support is helping to provide essential eye health services such as cataract surgery and glasses to correct visual impairment.  Support is going to people in some of the most fragile and underdeveloped countries in the world such as Mozambique, where 75% of blindness is often treatable or preventable.

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