Over a quarter of British men (26%) spend over £100 on a pair of sunglasses, compared to 14% of women. And, over a half of men (54%) own between two and three pairs – which comes in at over £300, compared to 50% of women.
However new research has found that Brits aged between 25-34 years are the biggest spenders, forking out an average £145 per pair!
In a survey commissioned by charity Sightsavers, in partnership with People’s Postcode Lottery, ahead of this weekend’s anticipated sunny weather, results have found that 90% of British people wear sunglasses, but less than half of them (40%) wear them to protect their eyes from UV damage.
Just under a third (30%) of British people are unaware of the effects that UV damage has on the eyes. What’s more, 69% of Brits are unaware that UV damage can cause cataracts.
65 million people suffer from cataracts globally, with the World Health Organization (WHO) estimating that 20 per cent are caused by overexposure to UV rays, and are therefore avoidable.
Shading our eyes from UV damage is the most effective way we can best protect our eye health. Despite this, almost a fifth (17%) of Britons think sunglasses are a waste of money, whilst a further 15% don’t see the point of them at all!
Overall, Brits are choosing comfort over eye health with over a quarter (29%) admitting they don’t find wearing sunglasses comfortable.
Over two thirds of respondents aged between 25 and 34 years old (71%) often think about what their lives would be like if they lost their sight. Yet only 28% of Brits buy their sunglasses straight from the opticians.
These people spend less as well, averaging £86 per pair while people who prefer to buy directly from big-name brands say they would happily spend £160 plus.
Dr Imran Khan, Optomestrist and Sightsavers’ Chief Technical Lead says “Sunglasses are not simply a fashion statement. What this survey, from Sightsavers and People’s Postcode Lottery, shows is that most people are not wearing shades to protect their eyes and we want to change that.
Not protecting your eyes from UV rays can cause long-term eye damage and lead to issues developing such as cataracts, and even eye cancers. This is especially an issue closer to the equator and in areas of high altitude where UV levels in the sun’s rays are stronger.
We would recommend that not only should people wear sunglasses whenever it is sunny, but they need to ensure that the style of glasses means their eyes and the area around their eyes is well covered, and that, whatever the cost of the sunglasses, they have a sticker to indicate they meet EU standards and block at least 95% of all UV rays.
Sun cream should also be carefully applied to the skin around the eyes to offer additional protection.”
Danyl Johnson, ambassador for People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “This is a really important campaign to remind people that the main purpose of sunglasses, regardless of the cost and style, is whether or not they are going to protect your eyes from sun damage.”
International development charity Sightsavers is helping to provide life-changing inclusive eye health projects, in sub-Saharan Africa, thanks to the players of People’s Postcode Lottery. This funding support is helping to provide essential eye health services such as cataract surgery and glasses to correct visual impairment.
Support is going to people in some of the most fragile and underdeveloped countries in the world such as Mozambique, where 75% of blindness is often treatable or preventable.