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Sunbed fans risk serious eye damage

Tuesday August 17th 2010

Experts have warned that sunbed enthusiasts could be damaging their eyesight by failing to wear protective goggles while tanning.

The College of Optometrists said sunbed lamps could cause UV damage and lead to growths in the eyes and long-term problems. As the skin over the eye is so thin, simply closing it will not protect the eye from harmful rays.

The College strongly recommends people wear the goggles or "winkies" provided by tanning salons.

Dr Susan Blakeney, optometric adviser to the College, said: "The skin on the eyelid is very thin and delicate so it's vital to protect this area from UV rays. Whilst we do not advocate the use of sunbeds, if you do use them it is important to ensure that you always use protective eye wear - as you would wear sunglasses when outside - to safeguard your eyes from UV rays. Avoiding wearing goggles or 'winkies' whilst using a sunbed can lead to benign eye growths called pterygium."

Tanning beds use ultraviolet light that produce both UVA and UVB rays, which can be more powerful than sunlight as it is directed straight at the face, Dr Blakeney said. She added: "Repeated exposure to UV may cause long-term damage which could affect sight in later life. We only have one pair of eyes, so if you want to safeguard your sight, always ensure you wear the proper protection whether on the sunbed or in the sun."

Copyright © Press Association 2010

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