Brisbane, Australia is said to have the highest UV and skin cancer levels in the world. Our vicious UV risk is largely due to the sizeable hole in the ozone layer above Australia. This not only puts our skins at risk – our poor peepers are literally getting fried in the Aussie sun and if we don’t protect them properly the price is our sight. Here is some essential info you should know before your holiday, so that you return with clear, calm and healthy eyes!
Daily UV-Index check – online and mobile
Every day of your holiday you should do an online check of the Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology’s UV index forecast. You should also download the SunSmart App for iPhone or Android (provided by SunSmart Victoria). This way, you will instantly be able to see UV levels across the country and alerts warning of high UV levels that could cause irreparable damage to your skin and eyes. Ensure you stay out of the sun on high risk days and/or wear high protection sunglasses and use other sun smart measures such as UV-protective clothing, lip balm, hats and sunscreen, which is now available in SPF50+ for maximum sun safety!
Avoid devastating eye damage
According to Cancer Council Australia, every year more than 300 Australians are diagnosed with eye and conjunctival cancers. The more you expose your eyes to the sun without proper protection, the more ‘layers’ of UVR damage are caused and the higher your risk of developing eye disorders such as:
- Increased sensitivity to strong light
- Swelling of the eye and/or excessive blinking
- Solar keratopathy (clouding of the cornea)
- Photokeratitis (sunburn of the cornea)
- Pterygium (a growth on the eye membrane over the cornea)
- Cataracts (clouding of the eye lens, a leading cause of vision impairment)
- Cancer of the eyelids (skin cancer)
- Ocular melanoma (the most common primary cancer of the eye in adults)
- Conjunctival cancer (the membrane over the whites of the eye)
- Age-related macular degeneration (the leading cause of blindness in Australia).
UV-safe sunglass essentials!
- It’s vital to buy sunglasses that eliminate UVR, decrease visible light and still allow you to see clearly.
- Close-fitting, thicker frames, with wide temple or wraparound arms and curved lenses minimise UVR absorption.
- Ensure your sunglasses are labelled ‘sunglasses’ and not ‘fashion spectacles’ – check the label for the category of lens according to the Australian/New Zealand standard AS/NZS 1067:2003 Sunglasses and Fashion Spectacle.
- The label must also advise if your sunglasses afford 100% UV protection.
- Opt for an Eye Protection Factor (EPF) of 9 or 10 (the EPF scale measures the level of UVR blocking protection from 1 to 10, with 10 exceeding AS/NZS 1067:2003 requirements).
- Check that your sunnies don’t have a ‘must not be used for driving’ label if you want to wear them while driving – and them to make sure you can easily identify colours through the lenses.
- Sunnies bought online still have to be labelled properly and also show the identity of the manufacturer or supplier, lens category number and description.
- Red, grey, green or brown lens colours are usually good for minimal colour distortion, especially when driving. Turquoise lenses are best for medium to high light levels. Orange and yellow increase contrast and depth perception but often tend to distort colours. Blue and purple lenses are usually purely cosmetic.
- Remember that darker lens tints can lower light visibility but that doesn’t mean they’re more UVR protective.
Sunglass Lens Categories
|Lens category||Description||Other info|
|0||Fashion spectacles-not sunglasses: very low sun glare reduction, some UVR protection.||n/a|
|1||Fashion spectacles – not sunglasses: limited sun glare reduction, some UVR protection.||Not suitable for driving at night|
|2||Sunglasses: medium sun glare reduction, good UV protection.||n/a|
|3||Sunglasses: high sun glare reduction, good UV protection.||n/a|
|4||Special purpose sunglasses: very high sun glare reduction, good UV protection.||Not suitable for driving at night|
Insight’s sizzling eyewear special is still on – you get 20% off a wide range of designer sunglasses and specs – or complete glasses at a hugely discounted price. Here are just two examples of the sensational sunnies on offer:
Gant – Marshall (black)
($189.95 less 20%) Now $151.96!
($238 less 20%) Now $190.40!
Information provided by Dr Jan Coetzee of Insight Optometrists Brisbane. Dr Coetzee holds a doctorate in optometry and is dedicated to raising awareness of eye health issues and providing high quality, protective eyewear. As an accredited member of the Eyecare Plus group – a select collective of clinically-driven optometry practices across Australia – Insight Optometrists also trades as Eyecare Plus Indooroopilly, More info: www.insightoptom.com.au.