Nearly Half of U.S. Adults Do Not Protect Their Eyes from UV Radiation

Nearly Half of U.S. Adults Do Not Protect Their Eyes from UV Radiation

New Report by The Vision Council Examines Gaps in UV Safety

Alexandria, VA (May 8, 2013) - Despite the damaging effects of ultraviolet (UV) radiation to eyes and vision, 40 percent of U.S. adults do not wear sunglasses while outdoors, and nearly half of drivers do not protect their eyes on the road, according to a new consumer media report by The Vision Council. Copies of The Big Picture: Eye Protection is Always in Season were issued to consumer health and lifestyle reporters nationwide this week, in an ongoing effort to increase public understanding of UV radiation and its harmful effects on vision health.

To motivate behavior change, The Vision Council is leading the charge to educate adults and children about UV safety. The Big Picture: Eye Protection is Always in Season, for example, is the third in a series that measures annual knowledge about UV exposure and vision health. Since The Vision Council's first report in 2011, trends have emerged about how U.S. adults are protecting - and not protecting - their eyes. The 2013 report highlights findings from two separate surveys about sunglass use and UV safety habits. While a majority of adults report wearing sunglasses for UV protection, far less actually wear them. Inconsistent sunglass use among children, who receive three times the annual sun exposure as adults, is even more concerning.1 Results show that more than half of parents do not protect their children's eyes with sunglasses and nearly 30 percent do not take any precaution to shield children's eyes from UV. 

Apart from sunglass use, the report finds that UV protection is not a priority for shoppers. Just 12 percent of adults ranked UV protection first as a consideration for a recent sunglass purchase. In Miami, a city that sees 255 days of extreme or high levels of UV, only 6 percent of shoppers ranked UV-protection most important. Monitoring by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Weather Service found that San Juan, Honolulu, Miami, Tampa Bay and Mobile experienced the highest UV index levels over 2012. Other cities, including Phoenix, Houston, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Denver ranked among the top 25.

More Americans are acknowledging the need for UV protection but there is a big disconnect when it comes to our eyes, said Ed Greene, CEO of The Vision Council. While we may think we are doing a good job with protection, the truth is that we are not doing nearly enough.

In tandem with the report's release, Ed Greene and two members of the Better Vision Institute (the medical advisory arm of The Vision Council), Justin Bazan, OD, and Dora Adamopoulos, OD, are conducting desk-side briefings in New York this week with health and web-content editors from publications such as Real Simple, Vogue, Glamour, and Family Circle.

The Vision Council is also planning two separate summer blog tours with mommy bloggers and travel bloggers from around the country, in addition to participating as a sponsor at the BlogHer'13 conference in Chicago at the end of July.

The Bureau of Missing Sunglasses (BoMS), The Vision Council's campaign to increase sunglass and other protective eyewear purchases by promoting the importance of year-round UV-protection to consumers,  will continue its mission of Eyewear for All by employing integrated social media tactics to reach consumers. Learn more about the campaign at

To help eyecare providers inform their patients about the importance of year-round UV-protection, The Vision Council offers free educational materials, including a UV-focused poster, children's activity booklet, and waiting room/community magazine, Under the Sun. These complimentary marketing materials are available for order through The Vision Council's online store at

To learn more about The Vision Council's UV-protection campaign, or to download a copy of The Big Picture: Eye Protection is Always in Season, visit The Vision Council online at

About The Vision Council

Serving as the global voice for vision care products and services, The Vision Council represents the manufacturers and suppliers of the optical industry through education, advocacy and consumer outreach. By sharing the latest in eyewear trends, advances in technology and advice from eyewear experts, The Vision Council serves as a resource to the public looking to learn more about options in eyeglasses and sunglasses. Visit or find us on Facebook.



1Prevent Blindness America. Children's Eyes More Susceptible to Long-Term Damage from UV Rays, April 2010.