Opening our eyes to the dangers of the winter sun


Australians are encouraged to protect their eyes against the unexpected dangers of the winter sun with Optometrists concerned with widespread complacency.

Research has revealed that 76 per cent of Australians don’t believe it’s necessary to wear UV protective sunglasses during winter[1] despite a range of factors that can lead to the development or worsening of serious eye issues such as cataracts and macular degeneration.

Bupa Optical Optometrist Karen Makin said the UV Factor is not the be-all and end-all when it comes to the danger of the sun to your eyes.

“With the sun sitting lower in the sky, your eyes are actually more likely to absorb direct UV rays and these are often intensified by reflections off wet surfaces after it rains.

“People are also more likely to be driving during sunrise and sunset where sun glare can impair your vision and increase your chance of having an accident. So if you have sunglasses, it’s advisable to wear them as you would in summer,” Karen said.

There are also concerns that Australians may not be wearing the right sunglasses, with only half the population placing significant importance on the UV protection level of their sunglasses, while almost 15 per cent place no importance on the UV protection level of their sunglasses[2].

“Not all sunglasses are created equal so make sure you shop at a reputable optical store where an optometrist can advise what level of UV protection a pair might have and whether it is suitable for your lifestyle. For example, if you spend lots of time driving or outdoors, you may wish to choose a pair with polarised lenses that provide additional protection against sun glare.

Given the risk that the winter sun presents, it’s vital that Australians who don’t have sunglasses or need new ones don’t wait until summer to get their eyes tested (if appropriate) or to buy a new pair, you risk the potential for irreversible damage by delaying,” said Karen

Wearing sunglasses during the winter also protect people against other common winter elements such as wind and dust which can irritate the eyes and cause discomfort.

To view the latest range of sunglasses available at Bupa Optical visit here.

[1] https://www.optometry.org.au/wp-content/uploads/GVFL/Year_2020/2020-Vision-Index-Report-FINAL.pdf

[2] As above.

Media reference number: 20/127