Association of Optometrists UV and Eye Health Campaign

The Issue

According to the article “AOP launches campaign on UV and eye health” by the Association of Optometrists and Kimberley Young in the UK, less than half of UK adults in survey reported owning sunglasses with UV protection. This is an astounding statistic and likely the backbone for a campaign urging the public to wear glasses that better protect their eyes. The campaign is called ‘SPF for your eyes’ and runs from July 27th through the end of September.

Additional Data

Ceri Smith-Jaynes, AOP spokesperson and Optometry Today clinical multimedia editor notes, while many realize that sun causes skin damage, “few realize it is just as damaging to their eyes.” Supplying data to support this, Young stated that, “Releasing research from an AOP Voice of Optometry survey of 1,207 participants, the association revealed 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." Young also notes that from a poll of the UK public, “two fifths were unaware that too much UV exposure can contribute to sight threatening conditions, such as cataract, age-related macular degeneration and eye cancers.”

Public research shared by the AOP reported that “46% of respondents said they owned a pair of sunglasses, but of those who did, 24% admitted to only sometimes checking UV protection when purchasing a pair.” However, Young did note that those over 55 were more aware of this and that three quarters reported checking the UV filter.

Campaign Specifics

According to Young, AOP has released a 60-second tips and resources video regarding protecting eyes against UV damage. According to Smith-Jaynes, a focus of the campaign is communicating the idea that damage can also be caused in poorer weather, thus encouraging UV protection during all seasons. Even for those who wear contacts, Young noted that AOP encouraged sunglasses given that they protect the skin around the eye. In terms of further advice, "checking prescription lenses include a UV filter, choosing sunglasses that fit closer to the eye and wrap-around, and wearing a wide-brimmed sun hat" are some other items Young noted that are in the campaign. AOP members can also download a campaign pack of materials, and practices can utilize the #EyeSPF hashtag on social media .


Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash