Summer may be winding down, but your sunglass sales shouldn’t be. The Vision Council has released the 2016 UV Report, which reviews myths and misconceptions prevalent among American consumers. This gap in understanding translates into a significant opportunity for eyecare professionals to further improve the lives of their patients by informing them about the importance of sun protection. This fall and winter, tell your patients that sun protection isn’t seasonal — it’s a year-round necessity.
SUN PROTECTION HABITS
According to the UV Report’s research, sun protection habits tend to vary by age, with poor sunwear habits beginning before age 30, when the eye is most at risk. Kids receive nearly three times the sun exposure of adults, yet just 29% of parents say their children always or often wear shades.1 An improvement in protection occurs in middle age, often after a patient experiences the negative effects of UV exposure firsthand. The survey found 40% of Baby Boomers2 spend more time outdoors, especially during times of peak UV exposure, so tailoring the message of health and safety to each age group can improve their retention of information.
UNDERSTANDING THE RISK OF UV EXPOSURE
Eyecare professionals have many myths to combat regarding what UV exposure is and how it can harm the body. According to the Vision Council’s Report, more than 40% of Americans believe that darker sunglasses provide better UV protection, although UV protection has nothing to do with the darkness or color.3 Patients should be advised to select sunwear labeled as having UVA/UVB protection and add a UV coating on their prescription lenses instead of selecting sunwear based on the darkness of the tint. Suggest a sunwear option like Xperio UVTM polarized lenses with both front and back-side UV protection.
EFFECTS OF UV EXPOSURE
Extended exposure to UV can cause photokeratitis, colloquially called “snow blindness.” Eyes can become bloodshot, light sensitive or swollen. However, UV damage to the eyes is not always immediate or painful – and when it is, the patient may not connect cause and effect unless explicitly informed by their eyecare professional. As we age, prolonged UV exposure can contribute to significant diagnoses like age-related macular degeneration, cataracts and cancers — of both the eye and the surrounding skin.4
USING PROMOTIONS TO SELL SUNWEAR
Coming this fall and winter, eyecare professionals can feature new promotions from Essilor. These offers will provide opportunities to talk to patients about ways to save money on the best products, as well as the benefits of sunwear for year-round use. Essilor is making it easier for you to maintain healthy patients, strong sales, and promote multiple sun pairs based on the seasons. In addition, practices can also integrate sunwear sales into Flex Spending Account reminders in November and December.
1 https://www.thevisioncouncil.org/sites/de- fault/files/TVC_UV_Report2016.pdf (pg 7)
2 Ibid. section on “60+”
3 https://www.thevisioncouncil.org/sites/ default/files/TVC_UV_Report2016.pdf (pg 3)
4 https://www.thevisioncouncil.org/sites/de- fault/files/TVC_UV_Report2016.pdf (pg 4)