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1 in 4 Australians not wearing sunglasses, research shows

Squinting outside

Nearly a quarter (24%) of Australians, the equivalent of six million people, rarely or never wear sunglasses when outside during the day, according to new research commissioned by Specsavers.

The research forms the basis of Specsavers new sun smart campaign, with optometrists warning the public that even five minutes of sun exposure can lead to permanent damage.

“Sun exposure has been linked to cataracts and macular degeneration but there are also many different types of cancers caused by sun exposure that affect the eye, eyelids and the structures around the eye, potentially resulting in permanent damage and vision loss,” Specsavers said.

The research found that less than half of respondents are wearing sun protection while doing outside activities such as having a BBQ, mowing the lawn, walking the dog, sitting at a bus stop or train station, and walking to/from their car.

Undertaken by YouGov in 2020 and again in 2021 on behalf of Specsavers, the research comprised a nationally representative sample of 1,000 Australians aged 18 years and older.

Specsavers optometrist Mr Simon Kelly said Australia’s outdoor lifestyle makes it even more important to remember the risk of sun damage.

“It’s certainly disheartening to see people are still not protecting themselves with something as simple as a pair of sunglasses. The sun can still cause damage on an overcast day,” he said.

Last year’s research results revealed that while 92% of people are worried about long term damage to their body, eyesight tend to be forgotten with just 35% of Australian’s concerned about long-term sun damage to their eyes.

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