All eyes on sun safety this summer with only 61% of adults wearing sunglasses

NSW Health is urging people to protect their eyes this summer as warmer weather increases the risk of exposure to harsh Ultraviolet (UV) rays.

Long-term exposure to even small amounts of UV radiation can increase your risk of developing cancers, cataracts or even loss of eyesight.

Sydney Eye Hospital Ophthalmologist Dr Weng Sehu wants sun seekers to take necessary precautions when enjoying the outdoors.

“We know to slip, slop, slap to protect our skin from the sun, but Australians often forget about the threat UV rays pose to their eyes,” Dr Sehu said.

Choosing the right sunglasses is key to reducing the risk of eye damage. Look to purchase sunglasses with a high UV protection rating and a wraparound lens style that fully protects the eye.”

Dr Weng Sehu, Ophthalmologist Sydney Eye Hospital

In the latest NSW Adult Population Health Survey, only 61 per cent of adults reported always or often wearing sunglasses when out in the sun during the four weeks prior to the survey.

This dropped to 43 per cent among young people aged 18-24.

Women were more likely than men to always or often wear sunglasses (67 per cent of females compared with 55 per cent of males).

These simple precautions can reduce the risk of eye damage this summer:

Choose sunglasses with full UV protection: Look for glasses labelled either UV400 or 100 per cent UV protection, to block the full spectrum of UVA and UVB rays. In Australia, glasses are scored from zero (fashion eyewear) to category four (highly specialised glasses with sun-glare and UV protection). Look for glasses labelled at least category three.

Pay attention to the lens style: Wraparound styles provide better eye protection. When playing sports choose shatter-proof polycarbonate lenses to avoid eye injuries. Sunglasses also can protect from UV damage on the eyelid which has the thinnest skin on the body and is prone to skin cancers.

Always wear a hat outside: Even on cloudy days – because clouds don’t block all spectrums of UV light.

More information and advice can be found here.