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UV Exposure among U.S. Adults

During the winter of 2016, The Vision Council deployed a VisionWatch Survey concerning sunglass usage and concerns regarding UV exposure; repeating the study every other year, first starting in 2013. Participants were asked about how often they wear sunglasses and if they have experience any symptoms caused by UV exposure. A total of 10,382 submissions were gathered from the 14-question survey with 12.2 percent of respondents reporting that they never wear sunglasses.

Nearly one-third of respondents wear sunglasses every time they go outside (31.0%). Americans that wear plano sunglasses every time they go outside were most likely to be women, reside in higher income households ($60K+), and live in the Mountain-Pacific region of the U.S. An additional 11.7% of respondents stated that they wear sunglasses if they are outside for 2 or more hours while 15.3% indicated they use sunglasses after an hour of being outside. Men, respondents over age 55 and from lower income households were more likely to not wear sunglasses when they go outside.

Nearly one-third of respondents wear sunglasses every time they go outside (31.0%). Americans that wear plano sunglasses every time they go outside were most likely to be women, reside in higher income households ($60K+), and live in the Mountain-Pacific region of the U.S. An additional 11.7% of respondents stated that they wear sunglasses if they are outside for 2 or more hours while 15.3% indicated they use sunglasses after an hour of being outside. Men, respondents over age 55 and from lower income households were more likely to not wear sunglasses when they go outside.

We also asked Americans which activities they are most likely to wear sunglasses. Less than three-quarters of Americans said they wear sunglasses while driving a car followed by 50.5% who wear while walking and 46.9% wearing while at the beach. Other Americans reported wearing sunglasses during yard work (24.7%), while on a boat (17.5%), watching a sporting event (13.9%) and/or while playing a sport (6.0%).

When asked about key factors that motivate respondents to purchase sunglasses, 65.1% of respondents said that comfort of fit was very important when purchasing sunglasses. 54% of respondents said affordability was most important. When comparing genders, women (87.3%) were more likely to view affordability as an important factor compared to men (78.1%).

In regard to respondents concerns of potential eye issues from UV exposure, over 30% of the US adult population indicated they are concerned with vision loss. Over 90% of participants believe both UVA and UVB protection in sunglasses are necessary to protect eyes from UV. 58.5% of the US adult population believe sunglasses with darker lens shade have better UV protection than lighter lens shade.

The next biggest concern of potential eye issues with 17.1% of respondents was skin cancer. Younger adults, adults with MVC and those from higher income households were likely to say that they are worried about skin cancer from UV exposure. More than a quarter of Americans reported that they have no concerns about UV exposure to their eyes.

The next biggest concern of potential eye issues with 17.1% of respondents was skin cancer. Younger adults, adults with MVC and those from higher income households were likely to say that they are worried about skin cancer from UV exposure. More than a quarter of Americans reported that they have no concerns about UV exposure to their eyes.

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