Wearing sunglasses can substantially protect the eye against both short term and long term exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UVR). Long term UVR exposure can cause the surface of the eye to degenerate. Cancer on the eye surface and eyelid are strongly linked to UVR exposure.
When purchasing sunglasses, choose:
- sunglass lenses that meet the Australian Standard (AS/NZS 1067: 2003)
- sunglass lenses with an Eye Protection Factor (EPF) rating of either 9 or 10
- sunglass lenses that eliminate UVR, decrease visible light to a comfortable level and allow adequate vision
- frames that fit closely to your face and minimise the amount of UVR entering your eyes (this could mean thicker frames, curved lenses or a wrap-around style).
EPF is a measure of the protection provided by sunglasses and other eyewear. EPF has a number scale from 1 to 10 which indicates how well a sunglass lens blocks UVR. Sunglasses with an EPF rating of 9 or 10 transmit almost no UVR.
All sunglasses sold in Australia must be labelled to indicate which AS/NZS 1067:2003 category they comply with. This provides consumers with the necessary information to select the correct sunglasses or fashion spectacles depending on their intended use.