We are all very aware of the dangers of sun exposure to our skin. But what about the sun’s impact on our eyes?

Sunglasses are most definitely a fashion statement – but they are also more than that. Quality sunglasses are essential in protecting our eyes from glare and damaging UV rays in the same way that sunscreen protects our skin. Today’s advanced technologies offer superior protection, including polarised sunglasses to reduce glare and visual discomfort, the convenience of prescription sunglasses and sports eyewear to enhance performance.

It is estimated that more than 50% of a person’s lifetime exposure to UV is received before the age of 18. Children are more susceptible to UV damage because they spend more time outdoors. As the effects of UV exposure are cumulative, it is crucial that good eyewear protection habits start early in life.

The only rays of the spectrum we see are visible light. Our eyes simply cannot detect other rays due to their frequency. However, just because we cannot see them does not mean we cannot feel or sense them.

Sun damage to the eye comes as a result of exposure to UV rays from the sun. There are three types of UV rays – UVA rays pose problems for the back of the eye, while UVB and UVC rays affect the front section of the eye. Prolonged exposure to any type of UV rays can contribute to cataracts, cancer of the eyelids, pterygium growths and macular degeneration.

Invest in a good quality pair of sunglasses that adhere to Australian Sunglass Standards and wear a hat to protect your eyelids.

Yes, sunglasses should be worn by all members of the family, including children, to prevent against damage caused by exposure to the sun. Remember: most of our exposure to the sun occurs during our childhood and youth.

Compulsory labelling will assist you to select appropriate, safe sunglasses. There are five broad classifications and we can advise you on the optimal category for your vision, eye health and lifestyle.

Polarised lenses eliminate glare from horizontal surfaces such as water, roads, pavements, snow, sand and reflective surfaces such as car exteriors. A polarised film built into the lens acts like a venetian blind, blocking out light that would normally result in glare.

By filtering out distracting and potentially dangerous glare, you can maintain clear and comfortable vision. Colours will appear more vibrant and contrasting, giving you superior clarity and depth of vision. Lens colours can be matched to specific sporting and leisure activities to maximise visual performance.

If you wear sunglasses while working outdoors, you may be eligible to claim a tax deduction on your sunglass purchases. For more information, visit the Australian Tax Office website.