The Importance of Wearing UV-Protective Sunglasses

Category: Lifestyle 59 0

Yep- there is a day for most anything and  June 27 is National Sunglasses Day, the annual holiday brought to life by The Vision Council that celebrates the importance of wearing ultraviolet (UV)-protective sunwear and eyewear. The Vision Council encourages everyone to always wear sunglasses when outdoors to protect their eyes from the sun’s UV rays.

“Sunglasses are as much a health necessity as they are a fashion accessory,” said Dr. Justin Bazan, OD, medical advisor to The Vision Council. “While it’s important to wear sunglasses year-round, regardless of the season or weather, it’s especially important to wear your shades during the summer when we are spending more time outside at the beach, at the park, boating and enjoying other outdoor activities. In fact, depending on what kind of activities you like to do, there may be specific types of lenses or frames that would enhance your enjoyment of that sport or activity.  Your eyecare provider can help you select the best sunwear options for you.”

Some important facts to know about the impact of UV rays on the eyes include:

  • UVA and UVB rays can reflect off surfaces like water, sand, snow and even buildings. Reflected UV increases exposure levels and can double UV risk to the eyes in certain conditions.
  • If the sun is strong enough, reflective rays can burn the cornea – a condition called photokeratitis.
  • Long-term exposure to the sun is a risk factor for cataracts, a clouding of the eye’s lens and development of pterygia, a thin, noncancerous growth of tissue that surfaces on the conjunctiva and cornea.
  • UV radiation can cause different forms of cancer both in the eye and the delicate skin surrounding the eye.
  • Since UV exposure is cumulative, it is important to begin protection at an early age.  Over a lifetime, damage from unprotected exposure to UV rays can lead to eye diseases and conditions.
  • Children especially need UV eye protection as they get more annual sun exposure than adults through outdoor activities and their eyes cannot filter UV light as effectively as adults’ ocular lenses.

The Vision Council is also sharing recent data about consumer sunglass-wearing habits, some key takeaways from the survey of 2,210 adults include:

  • Two-thirds of respondents (67%) report wearing sunglasses always, most, or some of the time when spending time outside.  Additionally, these respondents are significantly more likely to wear sunglasses during the summer compared to other months.
  • A majority of parents, (70%), say their children wear sunglasses to protect their eyes from the sun when spending time outside.
  • The survey found that awareness of sunglass’ health benefits increases adults’ likelihood to wear them, and makes parents say they would encourage their children to use them as well.

The survey also showed some differences among specific demographics who wear sunglasses regularly, including:

  • 50% of GenZers wear sunglasses always, most or some of the time outside, compared to 71% of Millennials, 72% of GenXers, and 68% of Baby Boomers.
  • Adults in the Northeast (63%) are less likely than those in the Midwest (70%), South (68%), or West (69%) to wear sunglasses when spending time outside.

To view the survey summary, click here.

“No matter your budget or style there’s a pair of sunglasses that fits every lifestyle,” said Dr. Bazan. “From value-priced to luxury frames and simple to complex specialty lenses, consumers can find the best eyewear option for them and their families. With more ways than ever to buy, including online and in-person, the right sunglasses are more accessible than ever.”

For more information about the National Sunglasses Day campaign, visit nationalsunglassesday.com.

For more information, tips and resources on overall eye health, visit visionoptions.thevisioncouncil.org. Use the convenient doctor locator to find an eye doctor in your area.

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