The cold is here again and winter has begun! As we’ve now packed away our beach towels and sandals, there is one accessory Australians are being urged to keep handy – their sunglasses.
Optometry Australia’s 2020 Vision Index revealed that over three-quarters of Australians don’t think that UV protective sunglasses are necessary for the winter months. This is unfortunately a very harmful misconception, with the eyes susceptible to sunburn year round.
What are UV rays?
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is energy emitted by the sun, and here in Australia we have one of the highest levels of exposure in the world.
The sun emits three different kinds of UV radiation:
- UVA: not absorbed by the ozone layer at all
- UVB: about 15% of UVB transmits through to the earth’s atmosphere
- UVC: absorbed by ozone and does not reach the earth’s surface
When concerned with eye damage, we need to be wary of UVA and UVB rays.
Keep in mind that sun damage is still very possible on overcast and cloudy days, as the UV is able to penetrate the clouds, with exposure sometimes made even more intense due to reflections off these clouds. We also have to be particularly careful in the winter months as the sun actually sits lower on the horizon, so we get more harmful UV directly entering the eye.
(Photo by Taylor Friehl on Unsplash)