A Shady Business: Could cheapo sunnies be harming your eyes?

Posted on Categories fun, glasses guides

Sorry we’ve been a little quiet on the blog front lately… but, while we were holidaying, summer definitely arrived! How’s that scorching weather around the country last week, eh?

While you were busy sweating it out in your lunchbreak or on a beach somewhere, you may have noticed both the extraordinary temperatures, and a very glarey sun shining right in your eyes. How many of you suddenly realised you’d lost your sunnies, or found a pair with a broken arm, and realised that you could do with some shiny new ones to make your life a little less bright (perhaps even the morning after some beers in the sun!).

Importance of wearing decent sunnies

The importance of good quality sunglasses cannot be overstated: Sunglasses even got a recent promotion to appear alongside hats, sunscreen and t-shirts in the famous surveys hint that 27% of adults don’t ever swear sunglasses.

UV radiation is one cause of cataracts (this is when the eye’s lens gradually becomes opaque), and the irreversible macular degeneration. Sunglasses can often prevent or soothe the loss of vision that these condition create.

Those who do outdoor activities like skiing, surfing, bushwalking or boating leave themselves open to developing pterygium: where the flesh around your eye starts to grow on the surface of the cornea, spreading from the edge towards the pupil. It’s like the eye’s way of protecting itself from over exposure, and can be prevented through wearing good quality or polarised sunglasses.

The earlier kids get into sunglasses the better because the majority of lifelong eye damage occurs before we hit our double-digits.

How to spot a good ‘un: tech specs of quality sunglasses

Australia is one of the few countries along with UK, Germany, France and USA to have a standard for sunglasses: we introduced the AS 1067.1 standard in 1971. Now updated to the AS 1067.2003, it stipulates that all sunglasses sold in Australia must meet safety and performance requirements, and must strictly display a category label at the point of sale.

Generally, sunglasses you buy should carry a label indicating they comply with or exceed the requirements categories 2, 3 or 4. Sneaking Duck sunglasses lie in category 3: high sun protection and good UV radiation blocking capabilities. Category 2 are generally ‘graded’ lenses, lighter at the bottom, so they don’t offer the complete protection of a category 3 lens. Category 4 lenses are very dark and should only be used for special tasks like welding. Category 1 sunglasses will have you channeling your inner Bono at your next formal dinner.

Wearing poor-quality sunnies rarely meet a category 3 standard and this means they may be putting your eyes at greater risk.

Don’t assume that dark lenses means high UV protection! They won’t necessarily filter UV rays. In fact, dark lenses will make your pupils open wider (in the same way that your eyes adjust to low-light conditions) to draw in more light thereby actually increasing the UV entering your pupil!

Our sunny gems

Sneaking Duck sunglass lenses meet all standards for UV rating. We also offer a polarising option for greater UV protection and reduced glare. Read more here)

We can also add an anti-scratch hard coat, brilliant for gritty sandy beach days (if you’re not that weird friend with the sand-phobia); and anti-reflection coating, which also helps to reduce glare in the ultimate sun-fighting double team.

So, hit the back end of summer in style, and check out some awesome new sunnies here; and gents here. And remember – they are all available in your prescription.

Thanks to Robert Rice for the Flickr image!