Going Outside…Wear Sunglasses, Protect Your Eyes
Most Americans worry that the Sun could damage their eyes, most of them do not protect their eyes with sunglasses when they go outside.
A report by The Vision Council found that although 75% of Americans are concerned that the Sun’s UV (ultraviolent) rays might harm their vision, only 31% protect their eyes with sunglasses or other UV-protective eyewear outdoors.
The survey, which was based on the responses of more than 10,000 adults, found that 34% of them said they had experienced symptoms of prolonged UV exposure, including eye irritation, trouble seeing, and red or swollen eyes.
“UV damage to your eyes can start in as little as 15 minutes,” said Justin Bazan, OD, medical adviser to The Vision Council. “Many Americans have a ‘passive’ relationship with their sunglasses, and they don’t realize the dangerous health consequences that can occur from overexposure to the sun’s rays without the right eye protection.”
The survey found that most people appear to understand that exposure to UV rays can harm skin, and they use sunscreen and hats for protection. Many also knew that UV rays could cause skin cancer (51%) and sunburn (42%). But fewer realized UV also affects vision. Only 31% realized eyes could suffer from sunburn, and only 31% knew that too much Sun can cause cataracts, while only 21% realized UV rays were linked with age-related macular degeneration (ARMD).
While vision-robbing disorders such as cataracts and macular degeneration are associated with UV damage over many years, the short-term effects of UV rays can be felt after spending a long day outside or even after a few hours of intense, unprotected exposure.
Short-term symptoms of UV damage include photokeratitis (sunburn of the eye) and pterygium (a growth on the surface of the eye). Both conditions cause eyes to become bloodshot, irritated, swollen, or hyper-sensitive to light.
The report found that Americans have some bad habits when it comes to sunglasses.
Many people only wear them when they expect to be outside for 2 hours or more (39%). Other times they simply do not wear them at all. Only 14% wear them while watching sporting events, and only 44% are likely to take them to the beach.
The survey also found, that:
- Americans place comfort (65%) and affordability (54%) before UV protection (44%) when purchasing sunglasses.
- Parents are more likely to wear shades always or often (56%) than their children (29%).
- Many adults who rarely or never wear sunglasses (25%) report that they skip UV eye protection because they do notown prescription sunglasses (41%).
- Millennials are least likely to protect their vision: 55% of people in their 20’s never, rarely or only sometimes wear sunglasses.
To lessen the risks of UV-related eye damage, The Vision Council recommends the following:
- Apply your knowledge: Make UV protection a crucial consideration when buying sunglasses.
- Consider your options: Look for lenses and frames designed for specific activities and lifestyles.
- Know where to go: Purchase sunglasses only from a reputable source and look for a label on the lens or frame indicating UVA and UVB protection.
More than 200,000 Americans are diagnosed with macular degeneration each year. The disease causes blurriness near the center of vision and may also cause the development of blank spots that interfere with daily activities.
Cataracts are a clouding of the lenses of the eyes, and are the most common cause of vision loss in people over the age of 40. More than 22-M Americans have cataracts.
Protect your eyes, where Sunglasses when outside.
Have a terrific week.