So you think you know all about the dangers of UV radiation and how it can damage the eye? So did I.

But guess what? I just had my UV IQ boosted by reading The Vision Council’s new consumer report, “The Big Picture: Eye Protection is Always in Season,” and so can you. The report highlights findings from two separate surveys about sunglass use and UV safety habits. It is full of interesting and sometimes surprising information.

For example, did you know that 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? And did you know that although a majority of adults report wearing sunglasses for UV protection, far less actually wear them? 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, according to the report, which is available on the Council’s website,

The report is part of the Council’s effort to educate consumers about UV radiation and its harmful effects on vision health. The Council is working to get the message to consumer health and lifestyle reporters nationwide.

As with any consumer campaign about vision, it’s important for eyecare professionals to create pull-through. That means not only familiarizing themselves with the messages being directed toward consumers, but actively following up in their practice or business. With UV, that involves warning patients during their eye exam about the dangers of UV exposure and then prescribing sunglasses if the patient spends time outdoors. If the patient already owns sunglasses, ask them to bring them with their glasses at the time of the exam so they can be inspected for damage. Even a small scratch in the lens coating can let in UV which can cause ocular damage.

If ECPs do their part, it will make The Vision Council’s public awareness campaign about UV danger more effective.

Andrew Karp
Group Editor, Lenses and Technology