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4 tips for choosing sunglasses | Optometrists


Did you know sunscreen on its own isn't always enough to protect you from all of the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation?

Sun exposure can also cause damage to your eyes, which is why it's really important to slide on a pair of quality sunglasses. Especially in this sun scorched country where we enjoy 3,000 hours of sunshine each year on average!


4 Tips for choosing sunglasses: Choose close fitting and wrap around for best cover, Select Sunnies with UV protection of 2 or higher, Look for good EPF (Eye Protection Factor) rating, Check the label for Australian Standard AS/NZS 1067:2003


When shopping for a pair of sunglasses look for ones that:

1. Meet Australian standards


All sunglasses sold in Australia must be tested and labelled according to the Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 1067:2003 Sunglasses and Fashion Spectacles. When purchasing sunglasses it’s a good idea to make sure they have a label that indicates they comply with these requirements.

2. Offer enough protection from UV


Sunglasses provide varying levels of protection from the harmful effect of the sun. The AS/NZS 1067:2003 Standard (‘the Standard’) ranks sunglasses from 0-4 depending on how much UV protection they offer: 0 being very low protection and 4 being very good protection.
When selecting sunglasses make sure they are labelled category 2 or higher as these sunglasses absorb 95% of UV light.


0 Fashion spectacles - not sunglasses very low sun glare reduction - some UV protection
1 Fashion spectacles - not sunglasses limited sun glare reduction - some UV protection
2 Sunglasses - medium sun glare reduction and good UV protection
3 Sunglasses - high sun glare reduction and good UV protection
4 Special purpose sunglasses - very high sun glare reduction and good UV protection

The Standard doesn't cover tinted or clear prescription lenses. Talk to your optometrist about the level of UV protection your prescription lenses offer as some lenses can be covered with a UV- protective layer.


3. Go for an 'EPF rating of 9 or 10

Sunglasses which comply with the Standard sometimes also have an Eye Protection Factor (EPF) rating from 1 to 10 on the label. Sunglasses with an EPF of 9 or 10 block almost all UV radiation and are a good choice.

4. Choose close fitting and wrap-around

Choose sunglasses that are close fitting and wrap-around as these styles reduce the reflected UV radiation and glare that can pass around the edge of sunglasses and bounce off the back of the lenses.


Don't forget to SLIP, SLOP, SLAP, SEEK and SLIDE


Government Bureau of Meteorology. Average Annual & Monthly Sun Duration. http://www.bom.gov.au/jsp/ncc/climate_averages/sunshine-hours/index.jsp 
Cancer Council NSW, Reducing your risk of skin cancer: Protecting your eyes from the sun. http://www.cancercouncil.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Protecting-your-eyes-from-the-sun.pdf
Australian Government: Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency. Sunglasses and Protection from Solar Ultraviolet Radiation. http://www.arpansa.gov.au/radiationprotection/factsheets/is_Sunglasses.cfm
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