Smart sunglasses and glasses are the latest ‘wearable technology’ to emerge over the last couple of years and may well be the next big breakthrough that will filter into our daily lives. However, as with any new technology where standards may not yet exist, there are some consumer protection issues that need to be considered.
Smart glasses and sunglasses focus on eyewear that has the technology to merge what you see in the real world with virtual information. They have the ability to display things like speed, location, health data, temperature, and some even have things like fatigue detection capabilities. This may produce many benefits for consumers and those in the workplace, however here are some consumer protection issues that need to be considered: the potential for vision impairment; the user’s ability to manually adjust the UV filtering properties of the lenses which could make sunglasses unsafe in certain circumstances (e.g. driving at night); and concerns over personal data being accessed by third parties without the user’s knowledge or approval.
CFA has a representative on the Standards Australia Technical Committee which is progressing work on an amendment to the current Australian Standard on sunglasses and fashion spectacles as well as undertaking a broader review of the Standard, which will likely consider smart sunglasses.
The committee ensures sunglasses and fashion spectacles meet a high standard of safety and provides key consumer information which assists consumers to make the safest possible purchasing decision as well as providing guidance on the safe use of sunglasses. Exposing your eyes to very high levels of sunlight can cause serious and sometimes irreversible damage. Some sunglasses can also impair your vision in other ways. Protecting your eyes from the harsh Australian sun could be as easy as choosing the right pair of sunglasses — see Safe sunnies: which pair should I wear?
There is a mandatory standard under the Australian Consumer Law which prescribes requirements for lens categories, construction, and labelling of sunglasses and fashion spectacles — read more about the prescribed requirements here.
Consumer participation on Standards Australia Technical Committees ensures products and services meet community expectations and build consumer confidence in purchasing and using goods and services. For more information about how to get involved as a CFA representative on a committee see the CFA Standards Project and/or contact Standards@consumeraction.org.au.