18 July 2022

We urge the public to protect their eyes as the UK reaches record-breaking temperatures

As the UK is set for extreme weather with some areas reaching record highs, The College of Optometrists is urging the public to protect their eyes when outside.

Dr Paramdeep Bilkhu MCOptom, Clinical Adviser at The College of Optometrists explains: “As we approach recording-breaking temperatures across many parts of the UK, it’s important to remember that your eyes, as well as your skin, need to be protected when spending time outside. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light has been linked to eye conditions, including cataract and macular degeneration, which can lead to sight loss. It is especially important for parents to protect their children’s eyes, as they are more susceptible to UV rays due to their larger pupils and clearer lenses. 

“The good news is that high quality sunglasses can give you the protection your eyes need. So if you find yourself outside during the hot weather, always wear sunglasses with UV protections, find shade where possible when UV rays are at their strongest, and make sure you keep yourself hydrated with plenty of fluids.”

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

  • When spending 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.
  • Apply sun cream after inserting contact lenses to avoid any irritation or contamination in your eye.
  • When swimming, watertight goggles are a great way to protect your eyes. 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.

Further information and advice to help look after your eyes can be found on the College’s patient website: lookafteryoureyes.org 

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