Nearly half of Americans do not wear sunglasses, according to a survey conducted by N3L Optics, a sports performance sunglass retailer owned by Luxottica Group, parent of the Oakley premium sports brand.

While 85 percent 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 percent of sports eye injuries can be prevented.
“Most people would never go out in the sun for an extended period of time without sunscreen,” said Bobby Dean, Education Director at N3L Optics. “Your eyes need that same kind of UV protection to prevent serious damage, and sunglasses are the best way to get that protection.”
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 percent 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 percent of runners and 35 percent of water sports participants do not consistently wear sunglasses during these activities, exposing their eyes to potential damage. Only 50 percent 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.

About the Survey

In 2012, N3L Optics conducted a nationwide survey of adults to better understand behaviors and beliefs relating to sunglasses. The survey examined areas such as participation in outdoor sports and activities, use of sunglasses, health knowledge, and injury rates. The subject group was made up of 1,080 respondents from across the country between the ages of 18-54 years old. All respondents had purchased at least one pair of sunglasses during the last 24 months, and had participated in an outdoor activity within the past year. Additional data is available by gender, age group and sport.

N3L Optics stores are located in Phoenix and Tucson Ariz.; Mission Viejo and San Mateo, Calif.; Broomfield and Denver, Colo.; Orlando, Fla.; Dallas and El Paso, Texas, and Salt Lake City, Utah, with a new store slated to open in Boulder, Colo., in summer 2012.