Should I wear sunglasses when I run?


There’s nothing like an Australian summer; beach days, barbecues, days spent with friends and family and perfect weather to begin your New Year’s resolution.

And what better way to challenge yourself than entering the Specsavers 12km in this year’s HBF Run for a Reason.

Our warm, sunny climate means Aussie’s need to take care while being active in the sun. 

Whether you’re attending the HBF Run for a Reason or going out for your morning stroll to grab a coffee, being sun smart should always be part of your routine. 

With an El Niño weather event now confirmed with hot and dry conditions ahead, optometrists across the country are urging Australians to remember to protect their eyes this summer.

This warning comes as new research* from Specsavers found that 54% of Australians admit that they would not be confident recognising the signs and symptoms of sun damage to their eyes, despite Australia experiencing some of the highest levels of UV1 and rates of skin cancer in the world.2

The research found that on average, Australians spend almost 2.2 hours outside a day during summer, yet 40% say they don’t wear sunglasses most of the time they go outside. 

Additionally, over half (52%) of Australians say that they often pick sunglasses based on their look and style rather than how much sun protection they provide. Younger Australians are more likely to choose style over safety compared to their older counterparts.

Specsavers optometrist Karen Walsh says, “It’s worrying to hear that 40% of people are still not wearing sunglasses. 

“It’s important that we all understand the long-term damage of the sun on our eyes and how to prevent it.”  

Additionally, research revealed over 2 in 5 (42%) Australians, don't consider the level of UV protection when choosing sunglasses, and 1 in 4 don’t know what polarised lenses are.

“Everyone should know what to look for when choosing sunglasses,” Karen says.

“Just as sunscreen is critical for protecting your skin, you should ensure you are wearing sunglasses that have UV protection. I recommend polarised lenses as the best option to block sun glare. 

“We also encourage good sun safe habits. The most important thing is to follow the SunSmart guidelines - slip, slop, slap, seek and slide. 

“It’s important to remember that the sun can still cause damage even on an overcast day.”

Specsavers optometrists are encouraging all Aussies to be sun smart as we head into warmer weather, and to visit an optometrist for a routine eye test or if they have any concerns about their eyes. 


Karen’s top tips to preventing sun damage of the eyes

  1. Apply sunscreen on your eyelids and around your eyes: While the eyelid is designed to protect the eye, the skin is very thin and contains fragile tissues that can be damaged by UV light so it’s important to make sure you apply sunscreen to your eyelids and reapply it every two hours.
  2. Wear a broadbrimmed hat: This will not only provide protection to your head but also your eyes, nose, ears and neck.
  3. Wear sunglasses that have UV protection: For the best kind of protection, buy sunglasses that have polarised lenses as they provide superior vision and glare protection in bright light. The best form of sunglasses for extended periods of ultraviolet (UV) light exposure are wraparound sunglasses. They are shaped to keep light from shining around the frames and into your eyes.
  4. Be mindful of the amount of time you spend in the sun: The longer you spend outside, the higher your chance of experiencing sun damage. If you know you will be spending a long period outside, try to spend most of it in a shaded area.
  5. Understand your family history: If you have a family history of melanoma or skin cancer, you could be at higher risk of developing those conditions.
  6. Get your eyes tested regularly: The best way to understand if your eyes are healthy and free from damage is to visit your local optometrist. At Specsavers, we recommend that you get your eyes tested every two years, or every year if you’re 65 and over.
  7. More generally: Remember the SunSmart slip, slop, slap, seek and slide rule. When you’re outside, slip on sun protective clothing, slop on SPF 30 or higher sunscreen, slap on a hat, seek shade and, slide on sunglasses that provide UV protection.

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