that's life (Australia)

Don’t forget those peepers

Think you know everything about sun damage? Think again…


By now we well and truly know the importance of wearing sunscreen, and most of us include this essential step in our daily routines.

But new research shows that 60 per cent of Aussies aren’t fully aware of the dangers the sun can pose to our peepers.

UV damage from the sun can permanentl­y damage your eyes by causing things such as cataracts, macular degenerati­on, pterygium, photokerat­itis and even cancer. Some conditions can take many years to develop, but each time we’re out in the sun without protection we could be doing damage and increasing our risk.

Unfortunat­ely, Australia has one of the highest levels of UV radiation in the world and one of the highest rates of skin cancer.

While UV radiation levels do change with the seasons – being higher in summer when the sun is higher in the sky – it is a myth that damage can’t be done during the winter months or on cloudy days.

Our bodies can’t see or feel UV rays, so overexposu­re can be damaging our eyes and skin without us even noticing.

Because of this, it is imperative you protect yourself from UV damage, including wearing suitable protective eyewear.

Alarmingly, Optometry Australia discovered that only half of Australian­s wear protective sunglasses during summer, and even fewer during winter.

Most Aussies don’t even know if their sunglasses offer UV protection!


In 2019, sunglasses standards came into effect, mandating all sunglasses provide wearers with protection from UV radiation.

Sunglasses are classi ed into ve categories, ranging from fashion spectacles through to the most protective lenses.

Optometry Australia recommends we wear sunglasses year round with a UV protection of level three or above. A category three or four lens will not only

reduce glare but will also protect against the sun’s harsh UV rays. Always look at the swing tag when purchasing new specs to check the protection level.

Sun smart

When you go outside, remember the SunSmart rule: slip, slop, slap, seek and slide. Slip on sun protective clothing, slop on SPF 30 or higher sunscreen, slap on a hat, seek shade and, slide on some sunglasses that

provide UV protection.

Eye checks

It’s also crucial you have your eyes tested regularly, as the best way to know if your eyes are healthy and free from damage is to visit your local optometris­t.

It is recommende­d that you get your eyes tested every two years, commencing from primary school age, and then every year if you’re over the age of 65.

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