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Norville Opticians Warns on Sun Dangers

Norville Opticians reminds parents of risks to children’s eyesight in the sun

May 2011

Norville Opticians, the leading chain of independent opticians with practices across South Gloucestershire and Gloucestershire, has reminded parents about the dangers of strong sunlight to their children’s unprotected eyes. In a timely reminder of the dangers of the sun given that PHN intends to produce a second campaign on mylocaloptician, the largest UK public eye care website at the end of May about this subject and the correct sports and sun wear to use Norville’s warning comes during the first prolonged period of strong sunshine so far this year.

The warning comes during the first prolonged period of strong sunshine so far this year and in the light of a study carried out by the College of Optometrists in 2009 which disclosed that a staggering 80% of parents in the South West fail to protect their children’s eyes. This compares with 76% of parents questioned across the country who did not protect their children’s eyes from harmful Ultra Violet (UV) rays.

Norville Opticians Managing Director Adrian Street said: “Children’s eyes are delicate; their sight is still developing so there is a greater need for care and protection from the harmful effects of UV rays than adults. When the sun is out many parents have become used to applying sun screen to their children but forget about the danger from the sun’s radiation to their children’s eyes. It is probably because you can’t see it or the damage it causes but it is a fact that young eyes can receive up to 70% more UV than adults’ eyes and are far more susceptible.“  

He continued by explaining that UV radiation which causes sunburn and is linked with skin cancer is also linked with damage to eyes. Studies have shown that exposure to UV can cause considerable discomfort and over the long term can damage the central part of the retina and contribute to the development of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. He said: “Children’s eyes are more vulnerable to this radiation because they still have clear corneas, lenses and fluids thereby allowing more radiation to enter and pass through to the retina. According to the World Health Organisation, by the time a child is 18 years old they could have absorbed as much as 80% of a lifetime’s exposure to UV. The damage starts early and is cumulative.”

He added that ordinary sunglasses with darkened lenses and which do not have UV protection are probably more dangerous than nothing at all. He said: “All they do is cause the pupils to become larger so that even more UV light can enter the eye. Then there are the children who are already wearing spectacles. Ideally they should be wearing prescription sunglasses. All parents need to look for the European Standard CE mark or the British BSEN1836:2005 if their children are to remain safe.

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