Eyesight warning to sunbed users
Sunbed-lovers are risking their eyesight by failing to wear protective goggles or shades, experts have warned.
UV damage caused by bright sunbed lamps can cause long-term problems and growths in the eyes, according to the College of Optometrists.
Merely closing the eyes while on the sunbed does not offer full protection, with the skin there being so thin it is at risk of burning.
The College 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 said: "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."
The news comes on top of the warning to sunbed users about the risks of skin cancer. Sunbeds have been linked to malignant melanoma.
Incidence rates of this deadly type of skin cancer have risen dramatically among both sexes since the 1970s. More than 10,400 cases are now diagnosed each year in the UK.