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Early UV Protection

Did you know that an estimated 80% of a person's lifetime exposure of UV occurs before the age of 18? (WHO Fact Sheet 261, July 2001)

The eye lens, unlike the rest of our body, once damaged, cannot repair themselves. Children and young adults are more susceptible to sun damage to the eyes. Being children, it is important that they have outdoor time, however it is crucial that they wear proper sun protection (sunscreen and a hat at the least). We would recommend that children start good habit of wearing wrap-around sunglasses with UV protection when they play for prolonged period outdoor. The Cancer Council NSW reported that sun exposure in the first 20 years increase your chane of developing eye cancer.

Australians are well educated that sun exposures can be dangerous to the skin, however we forget the impact of the sun to our eyes.

Wearing sunglasses is not just a fashion statement, but should also be seen as a sunscreen to the eyes. We need to understand what to look for in sunglasses to achieve the best sun protection, vision, and comfort in the look you like. All proper sunglasses or optical retailers are required to provide clear labelling according to Australian Standard to help you in selecting safe and appropriate sunglasses.

  • Category 0 - Fashion spectacles (not proper sunglasses); some UV protection with very low glare protection

  • Category 1 - Fashion spectacles (not proper sunglasses); limited sun glare reduction with some UV protection and not for night driving

  • Category 2 - Sunglasses; with medium sun glare protection and good UV protection

  • Category 3 - Sunglasses; high sun glare protection with good UV protection (100%)\

  • Category 4 - Sunglasses (special purpose); very high sun glare protection with 100% UV protection

The safest bet is to look for sunglasses with 100% UV protection which means that the lenses will protect our children's (and our) eyes from both UVA and UVB radiation. If you are concerned about your current sunglasses, most optometrists can help you assess them.

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