National Sunglasses Day is an annual day to remind people that wearing sunglasses is not only fashionably fun, but also a health necessity to protect the eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. According to a VisionWatch survey by The Vision Council, only 31% of American adults report they wear sunglasses every time they go outside, and 27% say they don’t typically wear sunglasses when they’re outside.
Meanwhile, 36.3% report spending the most time outdoors from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., which is when the UV exposure to the eyes is at its highest. Reported symptoms of UV exposure include: irritation of the eyes, trouble seeing, wrinkles around the eyes, red or swollen eyes, sunburn on the eyelids and the eyes, and even cancer on or around the eyes. Long-term UV exposure is cumulative and irreversible.
Therefore, it is important to begin protective eyewear habits early. Research has shown that young eyes are especially susceptible to UV-related harm. Children generally receive about three times the annual adult dose of UV. However, only 7.4% of American adults report their child(ren) “always” wear sunglasses.
“Regardless of age, everyone should wear sunglasses when they are outside,” says Dr. Justin Bazan, O.D., who serves as medical adviser to The Vision Council. “I recommend individuals schedule a comprehensive annual eye exam to not only have their eyes checked, but to also ask their eyecare provider for sunglass recommendations tailored to their vision and lifestyle needs.”
Through National Sunglasses Day, The Vision Council is on a mission to make a positive impact by uncovering key information individuals should know when purchasing sunglasses, and furthermore, encouraging them to wear sunglasses every time they are outdoors to safeguard their vision health.
Here are common myths surrounding UV protection debunked:
- Myth – All sunglasses offer proper protection; Truth – Not all sunglasses offer protection. Look for a label, sticker or tag indicating UVA/UVB protection;
- Myth – Darker lenses mean better protection; Truth – UV protection has nothing to do with lens darkness or color;
- Myth – The sun’s UV rays are only a risk factor during spring and summer; Truth – The sun’s UV rays are always at play, despite the season, the outside temperature and whether the sun is out, so individuals should wear sunglasses whenever they’re outdoors during daylight hours.
When purchasing sunglasses, individuals should keep the following in mind:
- Protection – Sunglasses with lenses that offer UVA/UVB protection should be the most important consideration when purchasing a pair of sunglasses. In fact, 70.6% of American adults report that the protective attributes and function of their sunglasses are a top concern when purchasing sunwear;
- Daily activities – Individuals should consider each aspect of their lifestyle and choose sunwear accordingly;
- Comfort – The more comfortable the sunglasses are, the more likely individuals are to wear them, with 63.1% of American adults reporting the fit of their sunglasses was a key factor in purchasing their sunwear;
- Style – Sunglasses are not only a health necessity, but also a fashion accessory, and individuals should choose sunglasses to elevate their existing wardrobes.
The Vision Council encourages the public to show off their personal styles and try out some of the season’s hottest sunwear trends on National Sunglasses Day. Here’s a run-down of what’s popular this year:
- Vintage made new – think old school-inspired styles with vintage shapes, details, lens treatments and colors but with fun twists for updated appeal;
- Sportswear redefined – taking note of the “athleisure” trend, traditionally athletic styles are made versatile, giving way to shades that can be worn during just about any activity;
- High fashion – out-of-the-box designs command attention with styles inspired from the runways that are perfect for those looking to make a statement with their sunwear;
- Simply modern – minimalist frames are given extra oomph with industrial accents and a cool palette, offering up total versatility when it comes to sunglasses.
Take a look below as Fashion Editor Zanna Roberts Rassi shares more about vision health.
For more information on vision health, please visit www.NationalSunglassesDay.com.