Look stylish and protect your eyes against UV damage

With summer on our doorstep, there is no better time than now to start protecting your eyes from Australia’s strong and damaging UV rays. And, for the style conscious, the latest sunglasses trends make this fairly easy to do!

Our eyes are 10 times more sensitive to UV than our skin and too much exposure to UV light increases the risk of various eye diseases and cancer with some 300 Australians diagnosed with eye cancer and conjunctival cancer annually.

Although we at Optometry Australia recommend that we should protect our eyes year-round from UV, during the warmer months we are outdoors more and due to this, our exposure levels are likely to be higher.

The number one thing that we can do to protect our eyes against UV is to slip on some sunglasses, or solar UV protective lenses, and the second thing, is to ensure your sunnies comply with Australian Standards.

A recent report by General Optical Pty Ltd stated that around 56% of adult Australians wear sunglasses every weekend.

While it is great that so many people are wearing sunglasses regularly, we would like to see Australians of every age group wearing sunglasses seven days a week, year-round. There is an abundance of choice when it comes to sunglasses with most optometrists stocking quality styles that not only protect against UV but are also very fashionable.

Maren Carson, Supply Chain Marketing Specialist of General Optical said that few fashion accessories have the impact of sunglasses for feeling stylish and on-trend. “Sunglasses must provide excellent UV protection in line with Australian Standards but they also have a default purpose of being someone’s number one fashion accessory”, she said.

Sunglasses trends touted by manufacturers for this year include:

  • Precious metals – gold, rose gold and silver adorn frames, arms and brow bars
  • Brow bridges and bars – one brow bar is not enough with sunglasses often now carrying two or more
  • Aviators – we fell in love with them in Top Gun and our love affair remains as strong as ever
  • Hardware – sunglass designs are echoing the aesthetic of old factories and industrial space made so popular in this global architectural trend
  • Geometric and unusual shapes – the mould has been broken on rounded and square shapes with sunglasses emerging in a variety of new and interesting silhouettes
  • Subtle colours – opaque pastels have become all the rage, ousting black and brown from their fashion top-spot
  • Mirrored lenses – join a throng of celebrities by selecting sunnies with reflective coloured lenses to make a strong fashion statement

At Optometry Australia, we provide the following practical tips for protecting your eyes against UV damage:

  • Make a habit of wearing sunglasses or solar UV protective lenses when outdoors, including on overcast and cloudy days.
  • When purchasing sunglasses, look for high category (Australian Standard) lenses and remember that a higher retail price does not necessarily mean better protection.
  • Of the five categories of lenses (0-4), you need to pick a pair with a rating of 2 or above for sufficient UV protection.
  • If ever in doubt, your optometrist should advise on the best lenses for your protection.
  • Sunglasses that wrap around the face and are close-fitting provide better protection against solar UV damage.
  • Lenses that automatically adjust to changing light conditions provide convenient solar UV and glare protection for prescription lens wearers and tinted and polarised lenses are also available for those that wear normal prescription lenses
  • Visit your optometrist regularly for an eye examination.

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