Survey Shows Americans Are Active Outdoors But Not Protecting Their Eyes

Wednesday, May 25, 2011 General News
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LAKE FOREST, Calif., May 24, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- With the arrival of warmer weather, more Americans are taking part in their

favorite outdoor sports and activities, but many are overlooking a simple safety and health precaution -- protecting their eyes with sunglasses.

According to a 2011 national survey conducted by N3L Optics®, only 66 percent of adults wear

sunglasses consistently when they are outdoors, and only half of those age 18-24 do so.

The survey also found that one in five American adults has experienced an eye injury while participating in outdoor sports and activities. The injury rate is higher for men (1 in 3) and those age 25-34 (1 in 4). Consistent sunglass use was least in the southeast where the eye injury rate was the highest (1 in 3).

"Your eyes are a critical component of your well-being and need to be protected with the same level of vigilance as your skin," said Kendra Reichenau, senior vice president of N3L Optics.  

Eighty percent of people surveyed reported worrying about their eye health, but nearly one in four do not know that sun exposure can cause eye damage. The sun's harmful UV radiation can lead to cataracts, macular degeneration and some cancers, nearly all of which are preventable with proper use of sunglasses. According to the American Optometric Association, UV radiation is a risk, even on overcast days.

Outdoor Activities

Although consistent sunglass use may be low, participation in outdoor activities is high. Survey respondents considered themselves to be active, and 81 percent said walking for fitness is their primary outdoor activity followed by water sports (49%), running (47%), outdoor sports (42%) and hiking and climbing (42%).

Men are more likely to purchase sunglasses for a specific sport and spend more on their sunglasses than women do. Fifty four percent of those who spent more than $100 on their sunglass purchase were men.

Use of Sunglasses

While the N3L Optics survey found that only 66 percent of adults wear sunglasses consistently when they are outdoors, 72 percent of walkers consistently protect their eyes with sunglasses. However, only 19 percent of golfers, 28 percent of runners and 29 percent of cyclists do.

The lack of use isn't because they don't own them.  The survey revealed 31 percent of adults purchased one pair and 36 percent purchased two pairs during the last year. Golfers, runners and motorcyclists are the most likely to invest in a pair of sunglasses that will improve their performance.

"Many people who are active choose to not wear sunglasses because they think it inhibits their ability to perform at their highest level," said Reichenau.  "That isn't true if you have the right sunglasses for your sport, and we launched N3L Optics to help match people with the right sunglass technology for their activities."

Tips for Choosing Sunglasses for Outdoor Activities

Choosing the right pair of sunglasses for your outdoor sport or activity is easy. In N3L Optics stores, innovative technology and Gearus (specially trained sunglass specialists) help guests match lenses, frames and styles to their individual needs. N3L Optics offers the following tips for selecting a pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes and enhance your outdoor experience and performance.

  • Polarized lenses are helpful for activities that require glare reduction. These activities include outdoor pursuits such as fishing, sailing, kayaking and sand volleyball.
  • Select glasses or goggles with polycarbonate lenses. While no lens is shatterproof or unbreakable, these lenses are impact resistant, shatter resistant and filter out 100 percent of UV light.
  • Choose the lens color that works best for your activity. Different colors work best for different sports. For example, golfers can benefit from lenses with amber, brown or rose tint. These tints enhance depth perception and help with following the ball in low or medium light conditions.
  • Consider the safety features you need for your activity. Many sports sunglasses are designed to address specific safety concerns such as protecting during impact, shielding from flying debris and improving visibility.
  • A good fit is critical. If sunglasses do not fit properly, they can't protect properly. Many sunglasses have special features that allow them to stay in place during activities such as running, cycling and climbing.
  • Bigger is better.  Wrap around lenses sometimes work best because they block light coming in from the sides. In addition, larger lenses may be more effective because they cover more of the eye.

"The brands we carry, like Oakley, Maui Jim, Smith Optics, Prada, Tag Heuer and Ray Ban, offer fashion with protection benefits so our customers never have to sacrifice style," said Reichenau.

Related information

Video showing in-store technology:

Photo showing in-store technology:

About the Survey  

In 2011, N3L Optics conducted a nationwide survey of adults to better understand behaviors and beliefs of sunglass purchasers. The survey examined areas such as participation in outdoor sports and activities, use of sunglasses, purchasing factors, health knowledge, injury rates, brand awareness and how relationships impact outdoor activities. The subject group was made up of 623 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 year. Additional data is available by gender, age group and sport.

About N3L Optics

N3L Optics (Newton's 3 Laws of Motion) is a new and revolutionary sunglass store committed to carrying the world's best assortment of sport performance optics. Designed specifically for the athlete and outdoor enthusiast, N3L Optics' innovative retail technology and highly trained associates will forever change the way performance eyewear is discovered, ensuring that you will always find the right frame and lens to enhance your active lifestyle. N3L Optics stores are located in Phoenix, Ariz.; Mission Viejo, Calif.; San Mateo, Calif.; Broomfield, Colo.; Denver, Colo.; Orlando, Fla.; Dallas, Texas; and El Paso, Texas.  

For more information, visit  N3L Optics is an Oakley company.  Oakley is a subsidiary of Luxottica Group (NYSE: LUX; MTA: LUX), a Milan, Italy-based global leader in premium fashion, luxury and sports eyewear.  Additional information is available at and

Contacts:  Kim Keller,,  (919) 440-9204Merianne Roth,, (817) 366-4055



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