With the news that a solar eclipse is happening on Monday (21 August), Vision Express is urging the UK public to stay sun-safe and protect their eyes.
The total solar eclipse will sweep North America for the first time in nearly a century on Monday 21 August, with a partial eclipse expected in the UK. The eclipse, which happens when the moon comes between the sun and the earth, will start shortly after 7pm with maximum sun coverage at 8pm.
Vision Express is warning members of the public to protect their eyes and not to look directly at the sun during the phenomenon.
Omar Hassan, head of professional services at the national optical retailer, explains: “With the excitement around the rarity of an eclipse, our concern is that people will forget to follow the general sun safety precautions.
“It’s estimated that every year three million people lose their sight due to prolonged exposure to UV radiation from the sun, which is so powerful it can damage the retina, so it’s crucial to protect our eyes.
“A good pair of sunglasses will filter this radiation and significantly reduce the risk of eye conditions impacted by exposure to sun rays – this includes cataracts and macular degeneration – which can cause blindness.
“It is still important, however, to never look directly at the sun, even with sunglasses on as they won’t offer sufficient protection. And of course, that applies when there’s an eclipse.
“Although the UK will only be experiencing a partial eclipse, we still recommend those observing it follow protective measures. The eclipse shouldn’t be viewed directly through a telescope, binoculars or camera, including a smartphone, as there is still the risk of eye damage. The safest way to watch, is via a webcam stream or television broadcast.
“Another option is to make a pinhole projector, which involves putting a hole in a piece of cardboard and holding it up with your back to the sun, so an image of the eclipse is projected onto a piece of paper in front of you. There are also specially designed CE-certified solar-eclipse glasses which protect your eyes against harmful rays, allowing you to view this natural phenomenon directly.
“Our final message to anyone viewing the eclipse is to enjoy it but stay safe. If you have any eye-health related concerns, you should contact your optician immediately.”
Vision Express offers an eye test to best practice guidelines of the College of Optometrists (COO), with each Vision Express optometrist being a qualified eye health professional. To book an eye test, visit: www.visionexpress.com/book-eye-test/
About Vision Express
Vision Express is one of the largest optical retailers in the UK and part of GrandVision,the global leader in optical retail operating in more than 40 countries, spanning over 6,500 stores and online.
With almost 400 stores nationwide, Vision Express first opened its doors in Newcastle in 1988. Built on a passion for the profession, it has gone from strength to strength, driven by a commitment to unparalleled customer service and providing the best individual optical care, the right product and great value. Customers can select from a vast range of genuine designer brands and the latest technology lenses, through to complete glasses from £39.
With around 4,500 employees, Vision Express makes a significant difference to the communities it operates within, and the organisations it chooses to support. As part of its commitment to Vision. Taken Seriously, and as a responsible and caring retailer, Vision Express is proud to partner with a range of healthcare charities, which have touched the lives of customers and teams. These companies provide vital support to people affected by vision-related conditions. They are part of the Vision Express Charity Project and include:
- Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (CHECT)
- International Glaucoma Association
- Macular Society
- Stroke Association
- Temple Street University Hospital