The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has released an online tool to help shoppers choose which pair of sunglasses are safest for their eyes.

“If you do not wear  the right pair of sunglasses, it may lead to serious eye damage such as cataracts and eyelid cancers from too much sun exposure. It could also impair your vision in other ways,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

“Many Australians will be looking now to buy sunglasses for the summer. Via a quick survey, the ‘Safe sunnies: Which pair should I wear?’ tool helps shoppers determine which lens category, the level of UV and glare protection sunglass lenses provide, suits their particular needs.”

“Exposing your eyes to high levels of sunlight may cause serious and sometimes irreversible eye damage – it’s essential that your sunglasses offer adequate UV protection,” Optometrists Association Australia National CEO Genevieve Quilty said.

Recent ACCC-commissioned research showed that Australians rate sun protection very highly when choosing to buy sunglasses but over 40 per cent are unaware of the lens category classifications and what they mean.

A particular concern is tinted fashion glasses designed for indoor use or for wearing at night – they may look like sunglasses but offer little UV protection and could be dangerous if worn when driving at night.

Under the Australian Consumer Law, sunglasses must not be sold without correct lens category labelling, among other things. A recent joint product safety survey by the ACCC and state and territory consumer affairs agencies on sunglasses found that almost one in seven  products did not comply with the mandatory safety standard.

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