Back to school for all

School's out, but there's still a lesson to be learnt

Sunglasses in the sand

The sun may have made an all-too-brief appearance so far this summer, but it still shone a light on the golden opportunities that there are to educate the public about choosing the right sunglasses for their eye health.

The focus may be on the school holidays and children, but there are lessons for all ages in the value of wearing sunglasses, which really do offer the best UV protection.

Being so much more than just a fashion accessory, which lots of consumer magazines focus on, this summer I am yet to see an article about sunglasses that emphasises their UV protection rating.

Being blonde and blue eyed, I am especially sensitive to the sun’s hazardous rays. It is therefore a personal crusade of mine to warn others of the risks. I feel vindicated in that as I warned my sun-loving best friend that her itchy mole needed investigation and it turned out to be skin cancer, with the treatment saving her life.

As well as skin care, I have to be equally vigilant in protecting my eyes. Whatever the season, I am never outside without my photochromic specs or my beloved prescription sunglasses when the sun does make a welcome appearance.

It was therefore very gratifying for me to see this week that Essilor has contributed to a television investigation into counterfeit sunglasses lenses, highlighting the potential risks to eye health that wearing lenses with little, or no, UV protection can have.

Professional relations manager for the lens manufacturer, Andy Hepworth, was interviewed for the BBC Wales programme X-Ray , which is scheduled to air on BBC One Wales at the end of the month.

I applaud the company’s efforts and really hope that practices are also taking advantage to put the summer eye care message in the limelight for every age group. Trust me, your patients and the wider public will have good reason to thank you for it. I certainly do.