Alexandria, VA – June 15, 2023 – Today, The Vision Council, the leading trade association for the optical industry, released the findings from its recent survey on adults’ sunglass usage and preferences, Focused inSights 2023: Sunglasses Snapshot. The results of the survey were released ahead of National Sunglass Day, a commemorative holiday owned and celebrated annually on June 27 by The Vision Council.

While often considered an accessory, the survey, conducted by Morning Consult in May 2023 and analyzed by The Vision Council inSights research team, revealed that most American adults understand the functional role of eyewear with ultraviolet (UV) protection. In fact, 72 percent of adults reported primarily wearing sunglasses to help see better when the sun is too bright, and 62 percent report using sunglasses for protection from UV light. 

Similarly, adults reported that sunglasses play a crucial role in their sun protection routine, with seven-in-ten adults saying they wear sunglasses always, most, or some of the time when spending time outside. Adults are much less likely to wear sunscreen (56 percent) or wear a hat (55 percent) with the same frequency, the survey found.  

“This survey underscores the value of sunglasses as a critical part of comprehensive UV protection and eyecare,” said Alysse Henkel, Senior Director of Market Research and Analytics at The Vision Council. “Wearing sunglasses is an easy and effective way to enable better vision for better lives for years to come. And, as we heard from consumers, sunglasses provide an opportunity to show your style, while staying protected and comfortable.”  

Additional key takeaways from the survey demonstrate sunglass preferences:  

  • Although adults are least likely to wear sunglasses while playing sports (20 percent), three-in-ten (29 percent) say they own sport sunglasses—and they are most likely to wear them for running (45 percent), fishing (40 percent), and biking (36 percent). 
  • Adults strongly prefer sunglasses with a square (51 percent) or aviator (37 percent) shape and black/grey lenses (60 percent). However, preferences vary by gender and age. 
  • When choosing new sunglasses, adults say fit and comfort (82 percent), durability (74 percent), performance and functionality (74 percent), and price (73 percent) are most important.  

Though most adults wear sunglasses at least sometimes, survey data suggests there is a continued need for consumer education and awareness about UV safety and eye health – in fact, 13 percent of survey respondents say they never wear sunglasses.  

The Vision Council’s Focused inSights 2022: Sunglasses Snapshot reports that greater than two thirds of parents say they would be more likely to encourage sunglass use among their children if they knew each of the following: 

  • Children receive three times the annual sun exposure as adults on average (74 percent). 
  • Children’s eyes let in more UV light than adults’ eyes (70 percent). 

The full report is available in The Vision Council’s Research Download Center as a complimentary download for members of The Vision Council, with a paid option for non-members to download.   

National Sunglasses Day 

The Vision Council welcomes people everywhere to celebrate National Sunglasses Day on June 27 by wearing UV protective shades when spending time outdoors and spreading the word about UV safety as a part of overall eye and vision health. 

In addition to releasing the Focused inSights 2023: Sunglasses Snapshot, The Vision Council will mark National Sunglasses Day with a suite of interactive campaigns and activations. 

Individuals are encouraged to share a sunglass selfie to social media with the hashtag #SolarFlair, or download a toolkit of promotional materials, featuring ready-made graphics and suggested content.  

To download a pdf of this press release, click here.