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Prevention is better than cure and there are strong reasons to believe that the use of adequate protection of the eyes against sunlight may reduce the rate of this disease occurring in the community.

It is essential that children before kindergarten and primary school age should be kept out of the midday sun and if this is not possible they should wear a broad-brimmed bonnet, be wheeled in a stroller with an awning and wear appropriate sunglasses at the earliest age possible. By the time the child is of primary school age, sunglasses should be worn whenever outdoors.

When purchasing a pair of sunglasses, it is important they are labelled as compliant with Australian Standard (AS 1067.1 1990 Sunglasses and Fashion Spectacles). This standard gives the safety and performance requirements for lenses and frames. Also look for an EPF UV rating of either 9 or 10, where the lenses transmit almost no ultraviolet radiation. This eye protection factor is set by the Australian Radiation Laboratory and offers protection above that required by the Australian Standard.

When protecting the eyes from ultraviolet radiation, wrap-around and close fitting sunglasses are the most effective type.

Consult your eye care professional when selecting appropriate sunglasses.