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Sunbed users at risk of blindness

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People are risking their eyesight by failing to wear protective goggles while they use sunbeds, experts have warned.

The College of Optometrists said that long-term damage and growths in the eyes could be caused by harmful UV rays from sunbed lamps.

Users are not protected from damage by merely closing their eyes as the skin is so thin.

Sunbed-lovers should use goggles or “winkies” provided by the tanning salon, said the college.

Dr Susan Blakeney, optometric adviser to the college, said: “Avoiding wearing goggles or winkies while 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, said Dr Blakeney.

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.

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