While the UK has recently enjoyed record-breaking weather, opticians are urging sun worshipers across the country to protect their eyes from harmful UV rays. 

Macular Week

This Macular Week (26 June - 2 July) - which aims to raise awareness of a range of macular-related conditions - Specsavers is advising customers on how to protect their eyes from avoidable macular damage, particularly brought on by sun exposure.

Age related macular degeneration disease (AMD) is the most common form of macular damage and is currently a leading cause of sight loss in the developed world. It occurs when a person’s retinal cells die off and are not regenerated, causing visual impairment and in some cases, blindness.

Numerous factors can increase the risk of developing the condition, including smoking, a poor diet and genetics. Over exposure to the sun's harmful UV rays is also a key contributor.

Protecting against harmful exposure

Dr Nigel Best, Specsavers clinical spokesperson, says: ‘AMD affects more than 600,000 people across the UK. It’s a staggering amount - especially when you consider the fact that just a few lifestyle changes can improve your chances of avoiding the condition.

‘What a lot of people don’t realise is that UV rays can be as harmful to your eyes as they are to your skin, therefore it’s crucial that people ensure they are wearing sunglasses or UV blocking contact lenses throughout the summer months to protect against the harmful exposure.

‘Look for sunglasses that meet the European Safety standards, as well as at least 80% light reduction - that way you know that your exposure to UV light is significantly reduced.’

Advice from the RNIB

Sally Harvey, Chief Executive of Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), said: ‘We know that almost half of all cases of sight loss are preventable, and this is why RNIB recommends people protect their eyes from the sun this summer by wearing their sunglasses.’

For more information visit www.macularsociety.org/types-macular-conditions

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