Novocastrians are being warned that when it comes to being sun smart the ‘eyes have it’ after new research revealed almost a third of the community forget about their peepers in summer.
Six out of 10 Australians, or 94,828 people in Newcastle, were found to be neglecting their eye health during the brightest season of the calendar, many unaware the sun can cause permanent damage, cataracts and cancer.
While most are concerned about long-term damage to their bodies, research showed the eyes tend to be forgotten organs, with just 37% of Australians concerned about the long-term damage to their eyes from the effects of the sun.
Mt Hutton Optometrist, Patricia Vallance, says it’s important that Newcastle residents are educated on both the potential long‐term damage and what they can do to prevent it.
“The reality is that living in Australia means that we can be exposed to dangerous levels of UV radiation when we’re outside, even when it’s not bright and sunny,” she said.
“While our eyelids are designed to protect our eyes, the skin around our eyes is very thin and contains fragile tissues that can easily be damaged by UV light.
“UV damage to the eye and eyelid can cause serious conditions, such as eyelid skin cancers, intraocular melanoma, conjunctival cancers, cataracts, macular degeneration and more.”
Ms Vallance said research also found that almost half of NSW residents admitted they didn’t wear sunglasses most of the time when they were outdoors.
She suggests applying sunscreen on your eyelids and around your eyes, wearing a wide-brimmed hat, limiting time spent in the sun, understanding family history, and regular eye testing to prevent sun damage to eyes.