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The best protection

The AOP is encouraging members of the public to protect their eye health by packing a pair of sunglasses when embarking on summer holidays

suitcase packed
Getty/Melpomenem

Like mistaking a stranger in the street for a long-lost friend, the post-pandemic summer holiday is familiar but different.

Yes, you will have a dose of sunshine – but it may be on a beach closer to home or a deck chair in your backyard.

There will be the same packing dilemmas – an extra book or another pair of shoes? – but you are more likely to be checking the weather forecast of Margate than Marbella.

Regardless of destination, AOP has stepped up to ensure that one item is on every UK holidaymakers’ checklist – a pair of sunglasses with UV protection to protect eye health.

The Association’s SPF for your eyes campaign launched this week and will run until the end of September, encouraging the public to protect their eyes as they would seek to protect their skin from sun damage.

Using data from the Voice of Optometry survey, the AOP highlights that almost a quarter of optometrists see up to nine patients every month with an eye disease linked to UV exposure, with 15% reporting that they see more than 20.

AOP members can participate in the campaign by downloading the campaign pack, which can be found on the website. The pack includes resources to use in practice, online and on social media.

Practices can also use #EyeSPF to participate in the campaign on social media.

British sailor Luke Patience, who is currently in Tokyo competing in the Olympic Games, has previously spoken to OT about the importance of protecting his vision with sunglasses.

OT is keen to hear your thoughts on the topic of sun protection and how optometrists can protect the eye health of their patients during the summer months.

OT  asks... In your view, how does public awareness of the need to wear sunglasses to protect their eyes compare to awareness of other measures designed to protect their skin (eg using sunblock or wearing a long shirt)?
  • No or very little awareness

    7 46%
  • Less awareness

    4 26%
  • About the same

    2 13%
  • Greater awareness

    2 13%

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