Protecting your eyes against the Perth sun
Australia has one of the highest UV ratings in the world — and a world-high skin cancer rating to go with it. The Perth sun is famously (or, perhaps infamously) scorching, and our bodies can take significant damage as a result. You probably already know about protective clothing and using sunscreen, but being sun safe doesn’t just apply to our exposed skin. Eye protection is crucial all year-round, and at summer draws near, it’s even more important to protect them.
Scary sun statistics
In 2020, Spec Savers commissioned research* and found that 6 out of 10 Australian’s aren’t aware that the sun can permanently damage eyes by causing things like cataracts, cancer, or macular degeneration. The study uncovered that, although 92% of people are worried about long-term sun damage to their body, the eyes were usually forgotten. A slim 35% of Australians were concerned about the long-term damage to their eyes from the effects of the sun. This is particularly alarming because in Australia, we’re at risk of sun damage to the eyes even when it’s not bright or sunny — the Perth sun is just too powerful! Further, the study found that 2 out of 5 people don’t wear sunglasses at all when outdoors — and those that did, didn’t necessarily have the right lens protection.
The truth is, eyes are extremely sensitive to sun — both its glare and UV rays are dangerous. Of course, our eyelids provide some protection, but the lids and surrounding skin is very thin with fragile tissues that are easily damaged by UV light. This exposure increases risk of serious conditions such as eyelid skin cancers, intraocular melanoma, conjunctival cancers, cataracts, macular degeneration, and more.
Get geared up
The effects of prolonged sun exposure to your eyes and eyelids can be devastating. Thankfully, preventing irreversible damage is really quite simple.
- Protect your eyes this summer with a good pair of sunglasses. At Peel Vision, we always recommend sunglasses that have polarised lenses. These provide 100% UV protection for your eyes and also eliminate glare caused by reflected light.
- Wear a hat. Aside from protecting the sensitive skin on your scalp, a broad-brimmed hat will also provide shade to your face, neck, ears, and eyes.
- Apply sunscreen to your eyelids and the surrounding skin every two hours when you’re outdoors. If you wear foundation, opt for one with some level of SPF in it — many have up to SPF30.
- Avoid extended periods in the sun and stay in the shade when possible.
- Know your family history — if members of your family have had melanoma or skin cancer, you might be at higher risk of developing those conditions too.
- Get your eyes tested regularly (at least once every two years); this is the best way to understand if your eyes are healthy.
*Research by YouGov, commissioned by Specsavers, 2020 The sample comprised a nationally representative sample 1,000 Australians aged 18+ years and older.