Mayor puts ignorance in the shade

Minnie Scott Russell dons her Elvis style specs to make a healthy point

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All eyes were on the mayor last week as Councillor Minnie Scott Russell stepped out in her Elvis style sun glasses as part of National Shades Day.

The mayor was one of the coolest in the country as she donned shades with local resident Ivy Temple to support the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association's annual eye health awareness campaign.

"Most people are aware of the harm the sun can do to skin but the damage it can do to eyes is less well known" comments the mayor. "Shades Day is a fantastic way to highlight an important eye care message for us all."

Shades Day is part of a national campaign to highlight the importance of looking after your
eyes in the sun and raise money for the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association. Over exposure to the sun's UV rays can increase the risk of developing eye conditions such as cataracts.

Ivy, who has lived in the borough in Willow Vale for 40 years, says,"It's important people have regular eye tests. Sometimes people don't realise their eyesight is deteriorating until it's too
late. Shades Day is a good way to highlight the great work the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association does. My guide dog Maria is fantastic, she sees for me and really gives me my independence."

The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association is committed to eye health education and has
invested more than £10 million into researching the causes of eye conditions.

"Funding research into eye diseases is essential to understand the causes of blindness, and how to help prevent sight loss," says Tom Pey, Guide Dogs' Director of Public Policy and Development." There are simple measures that everyone can take to look after their eyes and, potentially, save their sight."

This year's Shades Day will be extra special as the charity celebrates the 75th anniversary of the first guide dogs in the UK, which qualified with their pioneering blind owners in 1931.

June 22, 2006