Spring, beautiful spring. The season we all look forward to following the crazy winter chill. Time to pack away the winter woollies and get outside. To let the sun’s rays warm you through, to jump on the bike, take an early dip in the ocean, and tidy up the garden. Such is the lure of those early weeks of sun that often patients can forget the havoc it can play on their eyes.
Australia is often referred to as the skin cancer capital of the world with at least two in every three Australians diagnosed with skin cancer by the age of 70.1 The major cause of skin cancer is exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.
Fortunately, skin cancer is almost entirely preventable and the high profile Slip, Slop, Slap campaign, which has been in place for several decades, has successfully changed public behaviour. Add to that pages of information on multiple websites and education programs implemented in pre-schools and schools, and it’s easy to see why the general public has become well aware of the need to remain indoors or at least under shade between 10am – 4pm during high UV periods.
Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about campaigns to increase awareness of the damage that UV can cause to the eyes. Check out any website on the risks of UV exposure and you’ll find the effort dedicated to eye health is minimised to a simple message akin to “Slide – on wrap-around sunglasses. Make sure they meet Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 1067:2003.”2
The responsibility to educate the public about the importance of protecting the eyes from UV damage by wearing sunglasses with lenses that meet Australian standards must therefore, fall on optometrists
The responsibility to educate the public about the importance of protecting the eyes from UV damage by wearing sunglasses with lenses that meet Australian standards must therefore, fall on optometrists. As well as selling plano sunglasses to your walk in customers, consider the valuable opportunities that present when you introduce the idea of Rxable sunglasses as you discuss their spectacles with them.
The conversation could go something like this: “Did you know that spring is one of the year’s most dangerous seasons for the eyes? Skin cancer specialists recommend staying out of the sun between 10am and 4pm… As an eye specialist, I’d advise that the most important time to protect your eyes is mid-morning (around 10am) and mid-afternoon (around 4pm) the most dangerous times of the day. That’s when the sun is low and hitting the eye at an angle.”
You could then go on to say… “Interestingly, much of the sun damage comes from scattered light, from clouds and from light that is reflected from surfaces such as buildings, concrete, the ocean, sand and car bonnets… did you know we can fit prescription lenses to sunglass frames so that you can be more comfortable, have optimum vision and protect your eyes even while you’re enjoying or working outdoors. They make a huge difference to what you can get done while you’re outdoors.”
Done. You’ve just sold your second pair.
Build your Practice with Rx-able Sunglasses
These days there are plenty of eyewear brands with their own Rx-able lenses which have been purpose designed to easily fit the frame and optimise patient vision. These proprietary lenses are made up and fitted at the eyewear company’s manufacturing facility or designated lab, saving you time and cost that would otherwise be involved with transporting frames from your practice to an independent lab for lens fitting and back.
Some frame companies, such as Rodenstock, also offer support services to help optometrists guide and advise their patients on frame and lens packages to suit their work and leisure activities as well as their facial structure.
UV and the Eye
Although the eye requires light transmission in order to direct vision and manage the brain’s circadian rhythm, the light absorbed must be benign. Exposure to intense ambient radiation can lead to impaired vision and temporary or permanent blindness, especially for people over the age of 40. Ultraviolet-A (UV-A) and UV-B, which is not required for vision, can induce cataract formation, and is also a risk factor for damage to the retinas of children. Wrap-around sunglasses that block wavelengths below 400 nm (marked 400 on the glasses) can prevent reflective UV radiation from reaching the eye and therefore reduce the risks of cataract and other retina damage.1
According to Francine Behar-Cohen et al, eye protection is important for people of all ages because UV effects on the cornea and lens are cumulative. However, protection of children’s eyes is especially important because UV transmittance is higher at a very young age, allowing higher levels of UV radiation to reach the crystalline lens and even the retina. Sunglasses as well as clear lenses (plano and prescription) effectively reduce transmittance of UV radiation (UVR).
High ocular UV exposure is experienced at higher altitudes and by people who frequently work or spend their free time outside. Individual factors that increase UV exposure include a thin cornea, larger pupil size, lid and orbital anatomy, hyperopia, aphakia (in the absence of a UV-filtering intraocular lens), and genetic predisposition. Photosensitising drugs can also increase susceptibility to UVR damage.2
According to the World Health Organisation,3 the effects of solar ultraviolet radiation on human eye health are
When giving frame advice it’s important to take into consideration the customer’s eyesight, personal needs and frame and lens preferences as different brands will excel in different areas. For example, if your customer is a keen fisherman, Maui Jim, may have the tints and lens coatings to optimise vision on the ocean. If your customer is a keen cyclist, it may be best to steer them in the direction of an Oakley wrap which, as well as having appropriate lenses, has frame construction designed for comfort, durability and fit.
Patients who spend time on the road will be eager to hear about the Rx-able lenses designed for this purpose. Polarised to block blinding glare and featuring photochromic technology that adapts to the light conditions – from brilliant blue skies to overcast conditions – they make being on the road safer, more comfortable and less tiring.
Transitions Drivewear and Younger Drivewear adaptive sun lenses, for example, combine the glare protection of a polariser with the light control of a photochromic to provide the only polarised sun lens that adapts behind the windscreen of a vehicle.
Four Steps to Rxable Success
Bollé B-Thin Active Design RX
Bollé’s B-thin Active Design Rx program achieves high performance sunglass lenses that are up to 45 per cent lighter and 72 per cent thinner than standard prescription lenses. There are more than 20 different lens colours available in polycarbonate or trivex material, with polarised, non-polarised and light reactive photochromic lenses available. Suitable with most Bollé sunglass models, B-thin Active Design Rx offers lenses for both shield and interchangeable lens models. Available in single vision and progressive, the B-thin Active Design Rx range includes large prescription powers from +6.00 to -8.00 (Cyl 4.00), and can be produced in 99 per cent of all prescriptions.
Contact: Bollé (AUS) 03 8558 1000
Maui Jim lenses are 100 per cent digitally compensated (freeform) in fully automated facilities. MauiPassport technology reduces distortion and helps achieve faster adaption by eliminating peripheral distortion. Compensations are made for wrap-induced prism and vertex changes and back surface design widens the field of view. Direct surfacing provides optics accurate to within 1/100 of a dioptre.
Equipped with PolarisedPlus2 lens technology, MauiPassport gives exceptional protection, colour enhancement and clear vision across the entire lens. Maui Jim’s most advanced lens technology, MauiBrilliant, is now available in prescription lenses for premium polarised sunglasses, featuring optics nearly as clear as glass (56 ABBE value), with just one-third of the weight.
Contact: (AUS) 02 9452 5575
Adidas Sport eyewear offers a range of high-tech solutions (including polarised and day-night photochromatic) compatible with the individual needs and types of sport. Customers can choose between digital freeform direct glazing or adapter, or clip-in solutions to ensure optimal performance through optimal vision.
Contact: Mimo (AUS) 02 9970 1800
Oakley Prizm is a revolutionary technology that enhances detail for optimised performance. It provides ultra-precise colour tuning, designed for specific environments.
Contact: Oakley (AUS) 03 8598 3100
Rodenstock has a comprehensive System of Better Vision that provides everything from a frame to match your patient’s facial features with sun lenses in your patient’s prescription, to support for consulting, refraction, ordering and sales as well as after-sales service.
Rx-able sunglasses with Rodenstock’s ‘System of Better Vision’ ensure that sun lenses from Rodenstock are designed perfectly to fit the sunglass frames.
Contact: Rodenstock (AUS) 02 9748 0988
Hyde Eyewear offer a fresh, charismatic range of acetate optical frames and sunwear, boasting a modern-retro style and flare reminiscent of decades gone by.
Featuring lively, bold contracts of colour these frames suit individuals looking to achieve the balance between contemporary, conservative and casual looks.
Hyde Sunglasses are available as a frame and fit package at affordable prices and can be ordered on consignment to your practice.
Contact: Opticare (AUS) 02 9748 8777
Shaan’s Rx sunglass program includes a selected range of Rx-able sports and leisure frames from Ugly Fish, fitted with high quality Shaan lenses. Other features include six and eight base sports wrap frames; specific script ranges available for each style (average +4.00 to -4.00 on 70mm blank); and options for kids, men and women. Shaan has efficient systems in place to ease the process of placing orders and taking delivery of frames.
Contact: Shaan (AUS) 07 3205 3324
Morrissey frames are crafted and assembled by state-of-the-art manufacturers with each frame passing through 200 pairs of hands and taking up to 600 hours to complete.
Morrissey frames are able to be fitted with an CR39 Rx lens across the optical and sunglass ranges, for clarity, durability, sun comfort and protection. These premium lenses offer 100 per cent UV protection, making them an ideal choice for Morrissey eyewear.
Contact: Sunshades (AUS) 02 8303 7300
Bonastar Rx-able Sunglasses
A wide selection of Mars fashion and Paul Hueman sunglasses can be fitted with Bonastar’s sun Rx lenses.
Bonastar tinted sun lenses and photochromic lenses are available up to 1.74 index. With seven premium colours (silver, gold, blue, green, purple, red and pink) and the option of mirror coating on top of either tinted or polarised lenses, wearers enjoy eye protection from the sun and a fashion look to stand out from the crowd. Bonastar offers special prices on tinted, polarised and Crizal Forte UV transition lenses so that you can offer affordable solutions to your customers.
Contact Bonastar: (AUS) 1300 763 988 or 02 9310 1688
GenOp’s Sun.Rx program has been running since 2006 with brands that include Nike, Calvin Klein, Nautica, Dragon, bebe, Nine West, Lacoste and Anne Klein. This year up and coming brand Cole Haan has been introduced into the program with a new men’s range.
Each year GenOp introduces new styles into the program, ensuring that the Sun.Rx program is always on trend. Lens Options include Single Vision, bi-focal and ORION Freeform with polarised and flash options, with frame styles carefully selected to cater for a wide script range.
The program comes with a complete dispensing kit to ensure easy selling and dispensing for staff and a “how to sell sunglasses” training module. A window display, which can be customised to your needs, is also available.
Contact: GenOp Account Manager
Eyres and Shamir
Eyres and Shamir have created the most comprehensive range of eye protection for the most demanding situations, ensuring optimum frame and lens performance for whatever life brings.
Eyres’ extensive range of optical eyewear is designed to protect eyes and optimise vision. The unique synergy, combining Shamir’s Attitude Lens Technology and Eyres high performance eye protectors, provides the perfect solution for excellence in safety eyewear.
Shamir free-form lenses are available in a wide range of tints and filters, which are designed to effectively block the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays.
Contact: Shamir OHS (AUS) 08 9325 2444