Eye Protection Information Sheet Key Points Ultraviolet (UV) radiation can damage your eyes, as well as your skin. Cancer Council Tasmania recommends protecting your eyes from UV at all times when outdoors during daylight hours. UV radiation exposure to the eyes is dependent on a number of factors and is not closely correlated to ambient UV levels and the UV index. • To protect your eyes: - Wear close-‐fitting and wrap-‐around sunglasses. For best protection ensure the tag reads Australian Standard 1067:2003 (category 2, 3 or 4). - Wear a hat: a broad-‐brimmed, legionnaire or bucket style will shade your eyes and can reduce the amount of UV radiation reaching your eyes by 50%. •
How UV radiation can damage your eyes UV radiation can cause short-‐term eye problems and permanent eye damage. The most common short-‐term impact of UV exposure to the eye is acute photo keratopathy, akin to sunburn of the cornea, which can cause inflammationincluding blinking, swelling and difficultly looking at light. Exposure to UV radiation over long periods can cause more serious damage to the eyes, including: o squamous cell cancers on the eye surface, o cataracts (cloudiness of the lens), o climatic droplet keratopathy (cloudiness of the cornea), o macular degeneration (impaired vision), o skin cancer of the eyelids and around the eyes and o pterygium (pronounced tur-‐rig-‐i-‐um), an overgrowth of the conjunctiva onto the cornea. Choosing the right sunglasses Protective sunglasses don’t have to be expensive to be effective, but some cheaper fashion spectacles only provide limited UV protection. Make sure your sunglasses: o Meet the Australian Standard 1067:2003 for sunglasses, category 2, 3 or 4. Sunglasses sold as fashion spectacles may not provide protection from UV radiation. o Are wrap around and close-‐fitting and have large lenses, which help to reduce reflected UV radiation and glare that can pass around the edge of the sunglasses. Vers 1.2
Sunglasses and children Children are particularly sensitive to skin and eye damage from UV radiation. Exposure of very young children to UV radiation should be limited. It is important that all children wear a sun protective hat to provide some protection to the eyes, irrespective of skin colour. Once children are old enough to manage wearing sunglasses, they should be encouraged to do so when exposed to UV radiation. These glasses should meet the Australian/New Zealand Standard for sunglasses (not fashion spectacles) AS 1067:2003 category 2, 3 or4. Sunglasses labelled as toys are not covered by the Standard and therefore should not be used to provide sun protection. Prescription sunglasses The Australian Standard doesn’t cover tinted or clear prescription glasses and it’s best to talk to your optometrist about your options. Some tinted or clear prescription lenses protect against UV radiation, or lenses can be coated with a UV protective layer. However lenses that darken when exposed to sunlight reduce glare but may not filter out UV radiation. If you wear prescription glasses, ask your optometrist about the level of UV protection they provide.
Eye protection at work For sun protection in the workplace CCT recommends using tinted eye protectors that comply with Australian Standard 1337:1992 which provide at least the same amount of protection against UV radiation as sunglasses. Eye protection at the snow Snow blindness (sunburn on the eye’s surface) is a risk at the snow. While snow blindness usually lasts only a few days, it can be painful and contribute to long-‐term damage, such as cataracts. When at the snow always protect your eyes from glare and reflected UV radiation with wrap-‐around sunglasses or snug-‐fitting goggles. Check the label to ensure glasses or goggles meet the Australian Standard 1067:2003 (category 2, 3 or 4). For more information see the Cancer Council Australia eye protection position statement: wiki.cancer.org.au/prevention/Position_statement_-‐_Eye_protection Last Updated: December 2013 Acknowledgements: This information is based on the Cancer Council Australia Position Statement. Last Updated: November 2013 Vers 1.2