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Slip, Slop, Slap but NO Slide

Slip, Slop, Slap but NO Slide
New Zealanders risk serious eye conditions by being complacent about sun protection

(Auckland, 23 October 2012) Despite New Zealanders being more anxious about the sun than a shark attack, more than 1.1 million* New Zealanders don’t always wear sunglasses at the beach it’s sunny and this figure dramatically rises to 1.8 million** when it’s cloudy.

The OPSM Eye Protection Report**, launched today, reveals the sun safety message is getting hazy when it comes to sunglasses and eye protection. Despite 83% of New Zealanders saying it is important to put on sunscreen on a sunny day, and 60% a hat, only 24% rate sunglasses as a sun protection priority and are exposing themselves to potentially serious eye damage or vision loss as a result.

On a sunny day at the beach, only 58% of New Zealanders always wear sunglasses. This figure alarmingly drops by almost half to just over one in four (28%) when it’s cloudy, suggesting New Zealanders do not understand the impact UV exposure can have on their eyes, particularly when there is less visible glare.
New Zealand OPSM regional eye care manager Matthew Whiting, said: “The findings from this research are concerning. While it is encouraging to see the message about protecting the skin from UV exposure is getting through, eyes are the most sensitive part of the body and need to be cared for like the skin.

“New Zealanders are risking serious eye conditions by not sliding on their sunnies during the day. It’s just as important when it is cloudy as when it is sunny. People shouldn’t become complacent outside the hours of 11am and 2pm - particularly between 8-10am and 2-6pm when UV rays are still strong – it’s just as important to wear sunglasses during these times.”
New Zealanders need to get ‘Sunglass Smart’
UV damage is irreversible and repeated exposure can cause eye conditions such as cataracts, pterygia, skin cancer of the eyelids and macular degeneration which, in extreme cases, can cause vision loss^.

“It’s encouraging to see a third (34%) of New Zealanders rate having sufficient UV protection as the most important factor influencing their choice of sunglasses, but it’s no use if they are not wearing them – clearly, more education is needed. With 90% of skin cancers occurring above the neck and up to 10% on the eyelids^^, it’s time New Zealanders start taking their eye protection seriously,” said Matthew Whiting.

Gen Ys are the biggest offenders in forgetting about sunglasses when hitting the beach. When it’s sunny, only 56% always slide on their shades and when it’s cloudy, this drops to 21%. Figures are similar for a day out on the water, 51% of Gen Ys always wear sunglasses on a sunny day and this falls to 24% on a cloudy day.

According to the research, the North Island is New Zealand’s most savvy island as residents are most likely to wear sunglasses on a cloudy day in a variety of typical summer situations, including when at the beach, out on a boat, driving a car or walking to work.

OPSM has partnered with Surf Life Saving New Zealand (SLSNZ) to help Kiwis keep an eye on their sun protection this summer and raise awareness about the importance of protecting your eyes at all times.

Neale Ames, President of Surf Lifesaving New Zealand, said: “Our biggest priority on the beach is safety. And that’s not just in the water. It’s crucial New Zealanders protect themselves from UV rays, including their eyes, and we encourage everyone, including lifeguards, to wear sunglasses. Sliding on a pair of sunnies is a simple step to take each day to keep safe from ever-present harmful UV rays.”

OPSM’s top tips to protect eyes from UV damage:
• Sun damage to eyes can occur anytime during the year; be sure to wear sunglasses whenever you're outside
• Don't be fooled by a cloudy day; the sun's rays can pass through haze and thin clouds
• Make sure your sunglasses block 100% of UVA and UVB rays
• Wear a hat in addition to your sunglasses. Broad-brimmed styles provide the best protection for your eyes
• Neverlook directly at the sun. Looking directly at the sun at any time,including during an eclipse, can cause damage to the eye's retina
• Don't forget the kids; protect their eyes with hats and sunglasses.

This summer OPSM has a wide range of sunglasses to help New Zealanders protect their eyes from UV radiation. With the best brands to choose from including Ray-Ban, Prada, Oakley and Dolce & Gabbana amongst many others, New Zealanders can ensure they are protected this summer.


Notes to editors:
*Population of NZ over 18: 2.8M, Statistics New Zealand
Population of NZ that go to the beach on a sunny day: 2.5M (2.8M – 0.3M, Lonergan Research)
New Zealanders that don’t always wear sun glasses at the beach when it’s cloudy: 42%
Number of New Zealanders exposing their eyes to sun damage: 0.42 x 2.5M = 1.1M
** The calculation is as follows:
Population of NZ over 18: 2.8M, Statistics New Zealand
Population of NZ that go to the beach on a cloudy day: 2.5M (2.8M – 0.3M, Lonergan Research)
New Zealanders that don’t always wear sun glasses at the beach when it’s cloudy: 72%
Number of New Zealanders exposing their eyes to sun damage: 0.72 x 2.5M = 1.8M
*** The study was conducted by Lonergan Research among 504 New Zealanders aged 18 years and over. Surveys were distributed throughout New Zealand including both capital city and non-capital city areas. Fieldwork commenced on Friday, 28 September and was completed on Wednesday, 3 October, 2012. This study was conducted online amongst members of a permission based panel. After interviewing, data was weighted to the latest population estimates sourced from the Statistics New Zealand.
^American Journal of Ophthalmology, Volume 141, Issue 2, February 2006, Pages 294-298
^^American Association of Dermatology M, Gurwood AS. Periocular malignancies and primary eye care.Optometry.2011;72(11):705-12.

About OPSM
OPSM is a leading eye care and eyewear retailer in New Zealand. Part of Luxottica Group, a global eyewear company with over 7,000 retail stores and presence across 130 countries, OPSM has close to 400 stores in Australia and New Zealand.
Through its skilled optometrists, world class technology and exceptional service, OPSM’s goal is to raise the standard of eye health and eye care. In addition to its eye care services, OPSM is renowned for its unrivalled and exclusive range of optical frames and sunglasses from international brands to suit all budgets.
Instagram @OPSM

About Luxottica Asia Pacific
Across Asia Pacific, Luxottica has more than 1,000 retail stores under the brands OPSM, Sunglass Hut, Laubman & Pank, Budget Eyewear, Bright Eyes and Just Specs. The company employs close to 5,000 people across Australia and New Zealand. Additional information is available at

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