Not wearing sunglasses can affect eye health, optometrist warns

Wearing sunglasses helps protect your eyes from preventable damage. Picture: Jess Layt
Wearing sunglasses helps protect your eyes from preventable damage. Picture: Jess Layt

As little as five minutes in the sun can cause damage to your eyes.

Despite this however, new statistics from Specsavers reveal 24 per cent of Aussies never or rarely wear sunglasses when they head outside.

Optometrist Dr David Phan said it was important to grab your shades before heading into the sunshine as freedoms increase and the weather warms up.

"The Australian sun is stronger here than in other parts of the world," Dr Phan said.

"Australia has one of the highest levels of skin cancer in the world, so it's obviously important that if you're going outside you put sunnies on, put on a hat, sunscreen.

"We're seeing a lot of UV-related eye disease like cataracts, which can cause vision loss, starting earlier than normal because of prolonged exposure to the sun.

"There are also other conditions like macular degeneration, and skin cancer around the eyes and on the eyelids."

The Specsavers research determined 92 per cent of people were worried about long-term sun damage to their bodies, but only 35 per cent were concerned about the damage sun exposure could cause to their eyes.

Dr Phan said there were also a number of solutions for people who wore prescription eyeglasses to protect themselves from sun damage.

"A lot of people purchase prescription sunglasses, so they have a pair for indoors and a pair for outdoors," he said.

"Transition lenses are a good option too.

"We've also got clear lenses, if you're not into tinting, that provide UV protection."

Dr Phan encouraged everyone to make wearing sunglasses part of their everyday routine when leaving the house, to avoid not just damage to the eyes, but also other issues like headaches caused by glare.