Why are Polarized Sunglasses important?
We all have that moment when we forget our sunglasses at home. But not many people know how important it is to wear Polarized sunglasses.
Let me explain! There is well established evidence that exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UVR) from the sun can lead to eye damage. While everyone talks about the importance of sunscreen and protecting your skin from the suns harmful rays, yes that is very important, but don't forget to protect your eyes as well. Sunglasses are an effective method of sun protection when used with a combination of other protective measures.
Polarized sunglasses are specialized eyewear designed to reduce glare from surfaces such as water, snow, and glass. Glare distorts the true color of objects and makes them harder to distinguish. Polarized sunglasses can be useful for certain sports, driving, fishing, clarity and helping avoid potential hazards.
Health effects from solar UVR
- ARPANSA and other national and international health authorities, including the World Health Organization have assessed that continuous exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UVR) from the sun causes harmful effects on the skin, eye and immune system.
- Long term exposure to UVR can also cause serious damage to eyes, such as clouding in the lens of the eye (cataracts) which obscures vision. Short-term eye damage can also result such as acute photo keratitis, better known as snow-blindness.
- Good quality sunglasses that meet the Australian standard provide the eyes with substantial protection against solar UVR and are recommended for both children and adults, particularly the ‘wrap-around’ type.
Direct and scattered solar UVR
- For most of the day there is as much scattered solar UVR from the sky as there is from the direct sun. UVR can also be reflected from surfaces such as snow, water and buildings. To provide the best protection direct, scattered and reflected solar UVR need to be considered in the design of sunglasses.
- The eye cannot see UVR so the use of sunglasses to eliminate solar UVR, in particular the more-damaging UVB radiation, is highly desirable. Reducing the amount of UVR that the eye is exposed to over a person’s lifetime is likely to prove beneficial in preventing eye damage.
Australian standards for sunglasses
- All sunglasses sold in Australia must be tested and labelled according to the Australian/New Zealand Standard for Sunglasses and Fashion Spectacles. A mandatory safety standard sets limits on the allowed transmittance of fashion spectacles and sunglasses. Sunglasses meeting the standard are available in adults and children sizes. Wearing sunglasses that meet the standard requirements for effective sunglasses ensures your eyes have adequate protection against UVR damage.
- Tinted eye protectors that meet the Australian Standard for Eye and Face Protectors for Occupational Applications provides sun protection, and reduced glare outside for outdoor workers. Untinted eye protectors marked 'O' also have sufficient UV protection for outdoor use.
Sunglasses never reduce the risk from looking at the sun!NOTE: For more information go to https://www.arpansa.gov.au/understanding-radiation/radiation-sources/more-radiation-sources/sun-protection-sunglasses