Primary-aged school children in Queensland are being targeted on National Sunnies Day to wear sunglasses to protect their eyes.
Health Minister Lawrence Springborg is passionate about the campaign to protect eyes from sun damage, because as a child he experienced pterygium, an eye condition caused by overexposure to the sun.
“The Queensland Eye Institute (QEI) is targeting primary age kids and their families with its important eye health education message – Protect YOUR Pupils,” Mr Springborg said.
‘National Sunnies Day aims to teach kids the importance of protecting their eyes every day by wearing sunglasses with approved lenses from an early age.
“It reminds us that by simply wearing good sunglasses, we can protect our pupils and save our sight.”
Mr Springborg stressed the importance of educating families about the dangers, particularly in Queensland, with one study showing children who grow up in Brisbane are much more likely to develop pterygium than children who grow up in Melbourne.
“Exposure to sunlight has been associated with cataracts, pterygia and causing both cancer and pre-cancerous conditions on the eye’s surface,” he said.
“Excessive exposure to the sun’s ultra-violet rays during childhood can lead to major eye problems later in life – including blindness and cancer. So, it’s extremely important to educate young people and parents, about the importance of protecting their eyes.
“I encourage all schools and communities to get involved in this important education program.”
Queensland Health’s sun safety campaign encourages people to protect themselves from the sun in five ways – Slip on a shirt, Slop on some sunscreen (broad spectrum SPF30 or higher), Slap on a broad-brimmed hat, Seek shade and Slide on some sunglasses.
For more information on the Queensland Eye Institute, visit http://www.qei.org.au