The danger of sun exposure has been widely accepted, but many people don’t realise that the sun also can damage your eyes.

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The Australian Skin Cancer Foundation’s research shows that eyes are 10 times more sensitive to UV than your skin.

Long term exposure to even small amounts of UV radiation can increase your risk of developing a cataract, macular degeneration, ptergium, and cancer of the skin around the eye.

Sunscreen for your eyes

Quality UV protection from sunglasses 52 weeks a year protects your eyes from eye disease and vision loss. That means wearing sunglasses in summer, spring, autumn AND winter!

Damage can occur on cloudy days, or when you are in the shade, often damage is from indirect light that is reflected off sand, water or the ground.

Children are most at risk

Children and teenagers are more sensitive to UV than adults because the lenses in their eyes don’t block as much UV radiation. Only 32% of Australian children are protecting their eyes from harmful UV.

Damage can happen early in their life and not show up until much later. Assoc Professor Martin, from Westmead Children’s Hospital has seen young children with tumours on their eye and sun damage in some three year olds!

Sunglasses are like sunscreen for your eyes and provide essential protection from UV rays.

Wrap-around sunglasses with polarised lenses that sit close to your face and wrap around the sides of your eyes, offer maximum protection.

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Prescription Sunnies

Sunglasses in your prescription can make life much easier if you need glasses.

Prescription sunglasses protect your eyes from harmful UV rays, reduce glare and maximise your vision.

MauiJim and Cove sunglasses are able to be used for prescription sunglasses and come in a range of colours and styles.  (show images)

Claim a prescription pair with optical health fund benefits

Did you know that can use your optical health cover to claim your pair of prescription sunnies? Make sure you use your benefits before they expire on December 31.

Guidelines for purchasing sunglasses

Why you buy sunglasses make sure they provide you with protection from UV damage.

Also make sure you consider when you will be wearing them – your sunglasses need to fit the purpose they are needed for. Consider if you will be using them when lying by the pool, driving long distances, or playing an energetic sport. Make sure that the protection sunglasses provide gives the best coverage, no matter what you are doing.

Also, check that the glasses are labelled as either ‘sunglasses’ or as ‘special purpose sunglasses’ and not as ‘fashion spectacles’.

Sunglasses must have a label that states that they comply with the requirements of the Australian/New Zealand Standard for Sunglasses and Fashion Spectacles, AS/NZS 1067. This standard sets limits for the allowable light and UVR transmittances of fashion spectacles and sunglasses in both adults and children’s sizes.

Classifications

Sunglasses and fashion spectacles are classified into five categories.

Lens category 0:

Fashion spectacles – These are not sunglasses, they have very low ability to reduce sun glare and provide limited or no UV protection.

Lens category 1:

Fashion spectacles – these are not sunglasses, but provide limited sun glare reduction and some UV protection.

Lens category 2:

Sunglasses – they provide a medium level of sun glare reduction and good UV protection.

Lens category 3:

Sunglasses – a high level of sun glare reduction and good UV protection. This is the category of protection that your optometrist will prescribe for you.

Lens category 4:

Special purpose sunglasses that provide a very high level of sun glare reduction and good UV protection. The Lens category 4 sunglasses are very dark and must not be used when driving at any time.

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