Only 56% of Australian adults are wearing sunglasses every weekend.
With summer now well and truly in full swing it’s that time of the year again to remind everyone of the dangers of the sun for your eyes, and what you should know when choosing new sunglasses.
Did you know that only 56% of Australian adults are wearing sunglasses every weekend? That leaves 44 out of every 100 adults exposing their eyes to damaging UV rays.
According to Optometry Australia – “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.”
It is important then, when choosing sunglasses to make sure they comply with Australian Standards. You will find below more detailed information on these Australian Standards.
Sunglasses and lenses
Sunglass lenses may be made from a variety of plastics such as acrylic or polycarbonate. Plastic lenses are light and impact resistant and the material is naturally UVR resistant. There are sunglass lenses made from glass which have excellent optical quality and are scratch resistant but they tend to be heavier. Polarised lenses are also very popular as they reduce glare from many surfaces alleviating eye fatigue and eyestrain.
Typical lenses for sunglasses have a dark tint. The amount of tint varies between products and the darker the lenses the more they reduce visible light.
It is the UVR-absorbing properties of the plastic that the lenses are made from that provides the protection and not the colouration of the lenses. This means that dark sunglasses are not necessarily more effective at protecting the eyes from UVR than lightly tinted sunglasses.
Australian standards for sunglasses
All sunglasses sold in Australia must be tested and labelled according to the Australian/New Zealand Standard for Sunglasses and Fashion Spectacles. This mandatory standard sets limits on the allowed transmittances of fashion spectacles and sunglasses. Sunglasses meeting the standard are available in adults and children’s sizes. Wearing sunglasses that meet the standard’s requirements for effective sunglasses ensures your eyes have adequate protection against UVR damage.
Tinted eye protectors that meet the Australian Standard for Eye and Face Protectors for Occupational Applications provides sun protection, and reduced glare outside for outdoor workers. Untinted eye protectors marked ‘O’ also have sufficient UV protection for outdoor use.
Guidelines for purchasing sunglasses
- Check that the glasses are labelled as either sunglasses or special purpose sunglasses and not as fashion spectacles.
- It is mandatory that Sunglasses carry a label that indicates they comply with the requirements of the Australian/New Zealand Standard for Sunglasses and Fashion Spectacles AS/NZS 1067.
- If the glasses are to be used while driving, then check that colours are easily recognised when viewed through the lenses.
- There should be clear and legible labelling attached to the sunglasses with the identity of the manufacturer or supplier, the lens category number, description and additional markings if applicable. The label should also refer to Australian Standards.
Trends this summer include – Precious metals, brow bridges, mirrored lenses and aviators.
Envision Optical has a broad range of sunglasses across all 4 stores making it easy for you to find a new pair of sunnies that look good and protect your eyes.With modern technology you can also have sunglasses made up in your prescription including multifocals in polarized options. If you have any questions about sunglasses our licensed optical dispensers and optometrists are able to advise you on the best option for you.
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