According to a new national survey from N3L Optics, almost half of Americans are not wearing sunglasses, which can lead to serious eye problems, including macular degeneration, sports injuries and even some cancers.  While 85% of Americans feel eye protection is a major component of their overall good health, less than two thirds are wearing eye protection consistently while outdoors, and only about a third of those age 18-24 do so.

The survey also found that one in 10 American adults has experienced an eye injury while participating in outdoor sports and activities. Men are twice as likely to have an eye injury than women. April is “Sports Eye Safety Month” and, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), nearly 90% of sports eye injuries can be prevented.

The majority of those surveyed report worrying about their eye health, but nearly one in four do not know that sun exposure can cause eye cancer or cataracts. “N3L Optics was created to be a leader in educating Americans about proper eye protection,” Dean said. “Our Gearus are trained to listen to your needs and use our cutting-edge technology to make sure customers have the right performance sunglass or goggle for their sport or outdoor activity.”

OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES AND USE OF SUNGLASSES

Survey respondents considered themselves to be active, with 76% walking for fitness, followed by participation in water sports (37%), hiking (35%), camping (33%), outdoor team sports (27%), and cycling (26%). Participation in outdoor activities was similar to a year ago, showing little impact due to the economy.

Of concern in some key sports categories, the survey found that more than 40% of runners and 35% of water sports participants do not consistently wear sunglasses during these activities, exposing their eyes to potential damage. Only 50% of men make it a priority to have the right sunglasses for their sport and for women, it’s even less (33%).

WHY DON’T MORE AMERICANS WEAR SUNGLASSES DURING SPORTS?

“Many people don’t wear sunglasses during their sport because they’ve had trouble in the past with clarity and fit,” said Dean.  “Advancements in sunglass technology have corrected these concerns, and there are now many sunglasses to choose from that don’t slip, fog or impair your vision when you perform.”

“Many people also have no idea there are frames and lenses out there that will enhance their outdoor experience while protecting their eyes,” Dean said.Athletes and outdoor enthusiasts can choose from a wide variety of lenses and frames that are both effective and fashionable.

AMERICANS FEEL GOOD IN SUNGLASSES

Though safety and outdoor conditions are factors in choosing the right sunglasses, Americans definitely like to look and feel good as well.  The survey found that 45% feel “confident” with their sunglasses on, and 42% feel “cool.” More than a third feel “sporty” or “safe,” and nearly that many feel “healthy.”

Confidence peaked in New York, where more than half feel “confident” in their sunglasses. Coolness peaked in the southwest, where 57% feel “cool” in their sunglasses. “Sporty” was one of the top three feelings while wearing sunglasses in the northeast, southeast, and west.

[Source:  Survey conducted by N3L Optics/Oakley, a subsidiary of Luxottica Group.  10 Apr. 2012.  Web.  11 Apr. 2012.]