MILLIONS may be putting the safety and health of their eyes at risk by not wearing the proper eyewear.
Despite the health risks posed by strong UV radiation, a new study shows that 38 per cent of Brits don't own sunglasses with the right lenses.
The study, commissioned by Specsavers, showed how many British adults don't consider protecting their eyes from the sun to be a top priority.
The Ultra Violet (UV) rays from the sun can lead to temporary and even permanent damage to the eyes after prolonged exposure.
Of those polled, 71 per cent say that they want their shades to look good first and foremost, with safety concerns and prescription lenses ranking as much lower priorities.
Even more strikingly, over half say that they will opt for cheaper sunglasses even though these don't offer the right level of UV protection.
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Giles Edmonds, clinical services director at Specsavers, said: "While we all love spending time in the sun, it is important to recognise just how much damage it can cause to our eyes if we are not careful.
"When shopping for new sunglasses, the UV protection rating of lenses should be a top consideration.
"But what customers really need to be wary of is buying sunglasses which do not conform to health and safety requirements – and to do so all they need to do is look out for the CE or UV400 mark on the frame."
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Specsavers have even created a quiz that you can take to help understand the importance of wearing suitable sunglasses.
Despite warnings about the potential risks of UV exposure, a third of Brits have either been diagnosed with or believe they have photokeratitis: a painful condition that can last between hours and days.
On the road, these temporary conditions can become much more life-threatening. A quarter of those polled say that they have had a near miss while driving due to the sun, and ten per cent say that being temporarily blinded has caused them to have an accident.
Giles Edmonds added: “These results really highlight how essential sunglasses should be for everyone on a bright summer's day.
"It is staggering to learn about the length and depth of the problems people have experienced because of protracted contact with the sun – whether that’s feeling unwell or issues on the road.
"Yet, it is fascinating to learn so many will forgo the quality of their sight when they wear sunglasses as well, which again presents a number of other potential dangers."
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