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Canadian Ophthalmological Society

The COS Reminds Canadians to Protect Their Eyes this UV Safety Awareness Month

Survey finds Canadians aren’t wearing sunglasses enough, which can increase risk of cataracts

Many Canadians love basking in the sun during the long-awaited summer months, but they’re not taking enough precautions to protect their eyes from damaging UV rays that can lead to cataracts, one of the four leading eye diseases. In time for UV Safety Awareness Month, a joint survey from the Canadian Ophthalmological Society and the Canadian Association of Optometrists reveals that just two-thirds of Canadians regularly wear sunglasses on a sunny day (64 per cent) or during the summer months (63 per cent), and only 33 per cent wear them all year long. If left untreated, cataracts can cause blindness.

“It’s important to protect our eyes from harmful UV rays all year long to decrease the risk of developing cataracts later in life,” says Dr. Phil Hooper, President of the Canadian Ophthalmological Society. “While this eye disease is more common in people over 60, young people are still at risk, so taking the necessary precaution now will only help decrease their chances of getting this eye disease in the future.”

The survey also revealed that younger Canadians may not be taking enough precaution in protecting their eyes from harmful UV rays. Only a third of respondents say that their children regularly wear sunglasses on a sunny day (33 per cent) or during the summer months (32 per cent), and only 13 per cent say their children wear them on a cloudy day, despite the fact that UV rays are still present. 

Over 2.5 million people in Canada are living with cataracts, and while the eye disease is most common in people over the age of 60, changes to the lens generally start around the age of 40.

Click HERE for the full press release.

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