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College warns eyes need protection from the sun, both in the UK, and when further afield.

As schools break up, and many people prepare to set off on their summer holidays, The College of Optometrists has issued tips to remind the public that your eyes need to be protected, even if you are not travelling to a hotter country.

Dr. Paramdeep Bilkhu MCOptom, Clinical Advisor at The College of Optometrists explains: “The summer is finally here, hopefully this lovely weather will continue for the many people who will be spending time outdoors in the UK. It is important to remember that your eyes will need to be protected when you are out in the sun; exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light has been linked to sight-limiting eye conditions including cataract and macular degeneration. It is especially important for parents to protect their children’s eyes, as they are more susceptible to UV rays due to their large pupils and clearer lenses. The good news is that good quality sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat can give you the protection your eyes need.”

The College has issued the following advice to safeguard eye health and vision over the summer months:

  • If you’re spending more time outdoors, make sure you and your children have good quality sunglasses with UV protection. Look out for the British Standard (BS EN ISO 12312-1:2013), the CE or UKCA mark
  • Hats are not just a fashion accessory, they are also a great way to protect your eyes from the glare of the sun! Add an extra layer of protection this summer by wearing a hat with a wide brim or a sun visor to keep the eyes comfortable.
  • Watertight goggles are a great way to protect your eyes while swimming. They can help shield your eyes from infection causing microbes often found in pools. If you wear contact lenses, we recommend you take them out before swimming.
  • There is evidence that encouraging children to spend time outdoors could reduce the onset of myopia (short sightedness) so do try to make sure they have some time playing outside each day.

The College has developed an eye health poster to highlight the different ways summer sun can affect vision and exacerbate eye conditions. The poster can be downloaded here.


Notes to Editors

The College is the professional body for optometry. We qualify the profession and deliver the guidance and training to ensure optometrists provide the best possible care. We promote excellence through the College’s affixes, by building the evidence base for optometry, and raising awareness of the profession with the public, commissioners, and health care professionals.

July 21, 2021