Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Boots Opticians Campaign : British parents urged to protect their children’s eyes from UV damage

Boots Opticians has launched a campaign with Patsy Kensit, which aims to make parents aware of the importance of protecting their children's eyes from the sun. Recent research by Boots Opticians demonstrated that only half of parents put their children in sunglasses in sunny weather and almost a third don't think they need to talk to their children about the damage the sun can do to your eyes - concerning as 80% of UV damage is done to your eyes by the age of 18. You wouldn't dream of sending your kids out in the sun without covering them in sun cream, so make sure you remember to protect their eyes too. Read on for more information :


Head for the shades when the sun shines

-British parents urged to protect their children’s eyes from UV damage-

Boots Opticians has launched a new awareness campaign with celebrity mum Patsy Kensit aimed at encouraging British parents to explain to their children the importance of protecting their eyes from the sun. Boots Opticians has launched the new initiative by unveiling the results of research demonstrating that British parents need help persuading their children to wear sunglasses.

With 80% of UV damage being done by the age of 18, the research highlighted some surprising results, such as only around half (54%) of parents put their children in sunglasses in sunny weather, compared to 86% who will apply sun cream in the same weather.

Although overexposure to UV rays can cause serious damage, such as cataracts and eye diseases, the research revealed that one in ten parents in the UK are unaware that the sun can damage your eyes and almost a third (29%) don’t think they need to talk to their children about the damage UV rays can do to their eyes.

Boots Optometrist Carolyn Norman commented on the findings, “Over the past 30 years British people have seen a huge shift in awareness of the damage the sun can do to our skin. We’ve learnt to cover up our children in the sun, but now it’s time to educate people about the harm the sun can do to our eyes.”

Patsy Kensit commented: “I was surprised to learn that so many parents aren’t using sunglasses to protect their children’s eyes against UV damage. As a mother I think this needs to change and with Boots Opticians we’re asking parents to consider the fact that their children’s generation are likely to live longer than any other and therefore we need to help keep their eyes healthy for as long as possible.”

Interestingly attitudes to sunglasses varies throughout the UK – it was found that most people in the North East of England wear their shades to prevent wrinkles, whilst Londoners do it to keep up with latest fashions, and one in ten Welsh parents never wear them at all!

Scottish parents would be most put off from buying their children’s sunglasses based on the cost, however they are most likely to ensure their children take their sunglasses on school trips. One in seven parents in the East Midlands never make their children wear sunglasses for fear of them looking tacky!

One possible explanation for the results could be because parents are not aware of the many options, such as prescription sunglasses; 69% of the mums and dads questioned had children who wear glasses and of these only 10% had bought them prescription sunglasses.

Parents are also deterred by the perceived expense of sunglasses, with 30% stating cost as a factor that would prevent them from buying sunglasses for their children. Children’s prescription sunglasses at Boots Opticians start from as little as £20 with an NHS voucher. The two for £79 offer for adult styles also includes new styles of Boots brand prescription sunglasses so you can set a good example to your little ones by sporting your own shades.

Norman adds: “There are many sunglasses options for children, varying in style and design. Sunglasses are also available with prescription lenses for children that wear glasses, so there really is something for every child.”

Norman continues: “Children imitate adults, so if parents are taking precautions to protect their own eyes, their children could be more likely to want to wear sunglasses themselves. Letting your child choose their own sunglasses, could also help ensure they like them and keep them on when they’re out of your sight – it’s time we made sunglasses cool for kids!”

Other findings from the research include:

· 64% of parents explain to their children why they should wear sunglasses, yet 29% haven’t as they don’t think they need to, and 6% haven’t as they don’t know the reasons for wearing sunglasses themselves.

· 69% of Scottish parents make sure their kids take sunglasses on a school trip, compared to the national average of 57%.

· 6% of parents put their kids in sunglasses to make a fashion statement, and 5% to copy celebrity tot trends.

· Parents of kids aged 3-6 years old are most likely (62%) to put their child in sunglasses in sunny weather.

· One in ten parents with children aged 3-10 years old put their children in sunglasses to make a fashion statement.

· 23% of parents they would be put off buying sunglasses due to the risk of their child losing them.

· On school trips, 80% of parents ensure their child has a bottle of water, 77% sun cream, 57% sunglasses and 45% a t-shirt for swimming.

· 65% of parents know that the sun can cause loss of sight, 48% are aware that it can cause eye diseases and 40% know it can burn your eyes – one in ten are unaware that the sun can damage your eyes.

· One in ten parents in Wales never wear sunglasses.

As a concerned mother, Patsy Kensit has teamed up with Boots Opticians to create a video to help raise awareness of the importance of protecting children's eyes.  You can view the video here: http://www.boots.com/en/Opticians/Childrens-Eye-Health/

Boots Opticians has a wide range of children’s sunglasses available. Visit http://www.boots.com/  to find your local store.

For more information on eye health visit www.webmd.boots.com/eye-health

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