Eye Care & Protection

Eye Care & Protection

The sun emits three kinds of ultraviolet radiation: UVA, UVB and UVC. While UVC is absorbed by the Earth’s atmosphere, UVB radiation is only partially blocked and can burn the skin and eyes. UVA rays are not filtered and cause the most damage to vision health, according to the World Health Organization.

The Vision Council’s most recent VisionWatch survey reveals American adults experience symptoms – like irritation in the eye (15.5 percent), trouble seeing (13.5 percent), wrinkles around the eye (8.3 percent), red or swollen eyes (5.9 percent), sunburn on the eyelids (3.7 percent), sunburn of the eye (2.5 percent) and cancer on or around the eye (.6 percent) – from prolonged UV exposure. Additionally, the most common time American adults report spending time outdoors is 2-4 p.m. (39.8 percent), and the number one thing that concerns them most about UV eye exposure is vision loss (28.2 percent). However, 27 percent report they don’t typically wear sunglasses when they are outside.

Additional findings show:

  • American adults are most likely to wear sunglasses while:
    • Driving a vehicle (68.6 percent)
    • Casually relaxing or spending time outdoors (55.2 percent)
    • Near a body of water (49.1 percent)
    • Watching a sporting event (33.7 percent)
    • Playing a sport or exercising outdoors (29.5 percent)
  • The top five reasons American adults say motivates them to purchase a new pair of Plano sunglasses are:
    • Comfort of fit (23.2 percent)
    • Discounted/reduced price (22 percent)
    • UV or UV-protective coating (21.5 percent)
    • Fashion trends (16 percent)
    • Trouble seeing outdoors (13.2 percent)

Common UV Protection Questions Answered

Q: Does the darkness of the lenses equate to higher UV protection?
A: No. However, 39.4 percent of American adults believe it does. Dark lenses without adequate UV protection can be worse than wearing no sunglasses at all because they cause the eye's pupil to dilate, which then increases retinal exposure to unfiltered UV.

Q: Do all sunglasses offer UVA/UVB protection?
A: No. Since shielding the eyes from damaging radiation is crucial, it is imperative to look for a label, sticker or tag indicating UV protection before purchasing a pair of sunglasses.

Q: When do UV rays affect the eyes?
A: UV radiation is present year-round, so despite the season or weather. So it's important to wear proper eye and skin protection while outside during daylight hours.

Q: What should be considered when purchasing a pair of sunglasses?
A: Protection, daily activities, comfort and personal style.

Important Steps to Maintaining Eye Health

The Vision Council encourages everyone to wear sunglasses whenever they're outdoors during daylight hours, and to have an annual eye exam with an eyecare provider. Only 27 percent of American adults report they have an annual eye exam and talk to their eyecare provider about UV eye protection, and 29.7 percent report their child(ren) has an annual eye exam and talk to their eyecare provider about their UV eye protection. However, eyecare providers can make recommendations regarding sunglasses tailored to an individual’s unique vision and lifestyle needs. Additionally, sunglasses are also considered a style accessory that can elevate any look! Individuals should start a collection to coincide with their varying activities and ever-changing wardrobes.

Don't forget to celebrate National Sunglasses Day on June 27 by posting a photo with your favorite sunglasses tagging @TheVisionCouncil, and using #NationalSunglassesDay and #SunglassSelfie. For more information, visit nationalsunglassesday.com.