By Jody Johnson-Pettit

When slathering on the sunscreen this summer, don’t forget about protecting your eyes against harmful UV sun rays.

To help get the message out about eyes and sun awareness, Transitions Optical is launching a Total Sun Protection Education Campaign in Canada.

“The goal of the campaign is to ensure all Canadians know how to protect their eyes all year round,” says Patience Cook, director of North America marketing for Transitions Optical.

“We know that people are concerned about the sun’s UV rays, but protecting their skin is often more top-of-mind than protecting their eyes.”

The campaign will target eyecare professionals as well as dermatologists to help get the message out.

“The campaign will create educational resources for eyecare professionals to reference when talking to their patients about sun protection,” says Cook. “By starting a dialogue around total sun protection, we hope to encourage people to take proactive steps all year long to reduce the harmful effects of the sun’s UV rays, like damage to eyesight.”

New research from Transitions Optical has revealed a need for increased education on the importance of year-round protection.

A December 2016 survey, conducted by Wakefield Research, found that more than half of respondents believe that sun protection is only needed in warmer summer months. The survey also revealed that only 59 percent of Canadian eyeglass wearers use protective eyeglasses – either regular eyeglasses with UV protection or photochromic lenses.

The campaign will create educational resources, such as brochures, posters, articles, digital resources and more to increase awareness of total sun protection among millions of Canadians.

“You can’t put sunscreen on your eyes, so the campaign is encouraging Canadians to take protective measures like wearing eyeglasses or sunglasses with UV protection, wearing a wide-brimmed hat and seeking shade whenever possible,” says Cook.

Also as part of the campaign, a panel of representatives from the Canadian Dermatology Association (CDA), Canadian Ophthalmological Society (COS), eyecare professionals and representatives of the Canadian Association of Optometrists and Canadian Opticians Association will explore different types of light, options for protection, consumer awareness and misconceptions and what can be done to further increase education around sun protection.

“The call to action is simple: when outdoors, protect your eyes,” says Jennifer Brunet-Colvey, executive director and chief executive officer of the COS. “Your eyes, like your skin, are vulnerable to UV rays from the sun and unprotected exposure can cause short-term pain and discomfort or even have the long-term effect of jeopardizing your vision and increasing your risk of many serious eye diseases, such as cataracts, age-related macular degeneration and more.”

“It is important to take protective measures. This is important for everyone, but especially Canadians who spend a lot of time outdoor, and for children, as they are more susceptible to the sun’s UV rays,” says Chantal Courchesne, chief executive officer of the CDA.

Transitions Optical offers several products to help protect the eyes.

Transitions Signature lenses are their fastest-adapting and most popular lenses, featuring Chromea7 technology, which seamlessly adapts to changing light conditions. Transitions XTRActive lenses are their darkest lenses outdoors and provide a hint of tint indoors, while Transitions Vantage lenses reduce glare and seamlessly polarize as they adapt and darken.

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