Sunglasses – more than a fashion accessory

4658342968_68b28b31bc_oWith summer fast approaching, wearing sunglasses becomes part of our daily routine, but are they protecting you the way they should.

Most people know the sun’s rays are bad for our skin. But did you know they’re just as bad for our eyes? Sunglasses are a great fashion accessory, but their most important job is to protect your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays.

Good quality sunglasses that meet the Australian standard provide the eyes with substantial protection against solar UVR and are recommended for both children and adults, particularly the ‘wrap-around’ type.

ARPANSA and other national and international health authorities, including the World Health Organization have assessed that continuous exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UVR) from the sun causes harmful effects on the skin, eye and immune system. Long term exposure to UVR can also cause serious damage to eyes.

When purchasing sunglasses you need to be confident you are getting the highest levels of eye protection. Consumers Federation of Australia (CFA) representative Gail Broadbent is a member of the Standards Australia Technical Committee which updated the recently published Australian standard AS/NZS 1067 Sunglasses and fashion spectacles.  Although the standard aligns with the ISO standard providing protection against solar radiation for general use including road use and driving, the committee recognized the special circumstances of this region and avoided reducing the level of protection provided. So make sure you buy sunglasses that conform to the Australian standard and avoid purchasing those conforming to other weaker standards – or worse still, those not conforming to any standard!

CFA has representatives on over 50 Standards Australia Technical Committees as part of the CFA Standards Project; if you are interested in finding out more about the Project and/or becoming a volunteer CFA Standards Representative please contact the Standards Coordinator

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