Atlanta, Georgia – A survey conducted by Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Georgia in conjunction with Transitions Optical indicates that many people are unaware of the potential damage the sun can have on their eyes. In particular, people do not realize the long-term dangers posed to children who do not protect their eyes from sun damage.
Approximately 2,500 Americans over the age of 18 were included in this survey. Based on the data, it is clear that many people do not consider the vision risks associated with sun exposure. In fact, the majority of respondents didn’t even identify vision damage as a potential adverse effect of sun exposure. Instead, they focused on issues such as sunburn, skin cancer, heat exhaustion, dehydration, and wrinkles.
Furthermore, very few people were able to identify specific risks associated with sun exposure to the eyes, particularly as it applies to children. In fact only 36% of respondents recognized that UV rays pose a greater danger to children’s vision than to adults’ vision. Additionally, 37% of people surveyed indicated that they regularly did not wear protective eyewear, mainly because they forget to bring it with them.
Based on these findings, it is clear that greater education regarding eyes and sun damage must be achieved in order to promote the proper awareness of the dangers of sun exposure. This is particularly important in light of the fact that long-term UV sun exposure has been linked to conditions such as cataracts and macular degeneration.
In fact, annual healthcare expenditures for eye conditions ($16 billion) is more than double the expenditures for breast cancer (7.2 billion) and more than triple the cost of lung cancer ($5.6 billion). It is also significantly higher than the cost associated with HIV ($9.4 billion).