Though it might seem like cheerleader exaggeration, there’s nothing in this Opti Universe more powerful and more impactful than sunwear. I’ve played through this portrayal of how important sunglasses are for nearly endless reasons in my time as editor-in-chief of this magazine.

The timing of our yearly sunglass issue focus shifted from January to this current timing of June several years ago, and that’s fitting since it nicely coordinates with National Sunglasses Day on June 27 this year. Truth be told though, I was partial to the January date since it reinforced the fact that every season and every day is a SUNDAY when it comes to wearing sunglasses. I’m also sure most if not all of you have long noticed sunglasses are an integral part of every issue of 20/20 in print and a powerful focus of many of our digital initiatives and ever-growing social media postings.

And as an optical professional, you truly need to be a leader in delivering the sun message AND the necessity of sunwear in all its numerous assets. Here’s a giant clarion you should note from nearly all our eyewear vendor partners in your business and ours: Just three decades ago, on average, the mix of eyewear to sunwear available from manufacturers portioned out to a ratio of about 80 percent for ophthalmic frames with 20 percent afforded to sunwear styles. That has evolved into a dramatic shift with the big vendor players devoting nearly 40 percent of their product resources to sun and even smaller independent vendors now shifting to nearly a third of their specs being sun related. The numbers are on an almost equal power surge for the demands of both plano and Rx sunwear.

And if you are ignoring this demand, you are in the wrong profession. That might sound harsh but let me soften it a bit for those who might think I’m harping on just the style and fashion side of this demand for ever-so-cool sunglasses. Yes… sun specs are intensely cool, but proper sunglasses fulfill an incredible vision health factor that no ECP can ignore. My ophthalmologist, Dr. Valerie Trubnick, concludes every appointment I have reminding me that I must protect my vision with sunglasses maxed out on protective attributes. I visit her every four months since I am a type 1 diabetic, and my eye health is undoubtedly one of the biggest factors at risk in my constant battle with diabetes.

She is my most vital health professional, and she is constantly urging me to grace my eyes with sunglasses. She knows I need ongoing and ever-constant attendance at this SunFest celebration. I do it so willingly because I WANT shades, and I NEED shades. Please embrace that same mantra… constantly. It will help you, and it will gratefully help those in your care.

James J. Spina
[email protected]