Safe sunnies: Which pair should I wear?

Published: 
1 Dec 2014

Exposing your eyes to very high levels of sunlight can cause serious and sometimes irreversible damage. Some sunglasses can also impair your vision in other ways. Protecting your eyes from the harsh Australian sun could be as easy as choosing the right pair of sunglasses.

 

Give your eyes a bright future – keep them protected

Online tool: Which pair should I wear? Take the survey to find out

Why safe sunnies? The hazards

Inflammation

Solar ultraviolet radiation can cause an inflammation of the front surfaces of the eye.

Cataracts, pterygium or eyelid cancers

Long-term exposure of the eyes to ultraviolet radiation may also be a factor in causing cataracts, pterygium (abnormal tissue growth over the eye) or eyelid cancers.

Retina degeneration

Long-term exposure to near ultraviolet radiation in the wavelength band 315 to 400 nm may be a factor in causing degeneration of the retina of the eye.

Impaired vision

Some sunglasses reduce the ability to see at low light levels (e.g. late evening or night), or to distinguish colours while driving.

Safety tips

Give your eyes a bright future – keep them protected.

  • Look for sunglasses labelled category 2, 3 or 4 to give your eyes the best UV protection.
  • Choose the right sunglasses for you and your activity. Talk to your optometrist or sunglass specialist in-store to help you choose the right pair.
  • For sport, consider durable, glare reduction sunglasses such as those with a lens category 3 or 4.
  • Some sunglasses may be unsafe to wear while driving – avoid sunglasses labelled category 1 and category 4 if you plan to wear sunglasses while driving.
  • Always wear sunglasses in combination with other UV protection measures such as remaining in the shade where possible, wearing a hat and sunscreen.
  • Make UV eye protection part of your everyday routine, even on days when you feel the sun’s rays may be less harmful.