Remind patients about sunglasses

June 2, 2011

With the arrival of warmer weather, more of your patients may be participating in their favorite outdoor sports and activities, but many may not be protecting their eyes with sunglasses.

Lake Forest, CA-With the arrival of warmer weather, more of your patients may be participating in their favorite outdoor sports and activities, but many may not be protecting their eyes with sunglasses.

Only 66% of adults wear sunglasses consistently when they are outdoors, according to a recent national survey conducted by N3L Optics, and only one-half of those aged 18 to 24 years do so. Survey researchers also found that one-fifth of American adults have experienced an eye injury while participating in outdoor sports and activities.

The injury rate was higher for men (one in three) and those aged 25 to 34 years (one in four). Consistent sunglass use was least in the Southeast, where the eye injury rate was the highest (one in three).

Other survey findings:

• Eighty percent of people surveyed reported worrying about their eye health, but nearly one-fourth of them did not know that sun exposure can cause eye damage.

• 72% of walkers said they consistent protect their eyes with sunglasses. This amount compares with 19% of golfers, 28% of runners, and 29% of cyclists.

• 31% of survey participants said they had purchased one pair of sunglasses, and 36% said they had purchased two pairs during the past year. Golfers, runners, and motorcyclists were the most likely to have bought a pair of sunglasses in an effort to improve their performance.

Tips you can share with patients looking for sunglasses:

• Polarized lenses are helpful for activities-such as fishing, sailing, kayaking, and sand volleyball-that require glare reduction.

• Glasses or goggles with polycarbonate lenses are impact resistant, shatter resistant, and filter out 100% of ultraviolet light.

• Different lens colors work best for different sports. For example, lenses with an amber, brown, or rose tint enhance depth perception and help golfers follow the ball in low or medium light conditions.

• Many sports sunglasses are designed to address specific safety concerns such as protecting during impact, shielding from flying debris, and improving visibility.

• Many sunglasses have special features that allow them to remain in place during activities such as running, cycling, and climbing.

• Wraparound lenses sometimes work best because they block light coming in from the sides. In addition, larger lenses may be more effective because they cover more of the eye.

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