INDIANAPOLIS, Oct. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- When it comes to working and playing in the great outdoors, many Americans know they should keep their skin protected from the sun; however, a new survey from WellPoint, Inc. (NYSE: WLP) and Transitions Optical, Inc. indicates that the majority of active participants are unaware of the potential damage the sun can have on their eyes – and the eyes of their children – when they are outside.
The results of an online omnibus survey of 2,500 Americans ages 18 and older conducted on behalf of WellPoint and Transitions indicate that many participants rarely consider the potential risks to their vision from the sun. In fact, when thinking about the harmful effects of extended sun exposure, the majority of participants focus on things like sunburn (92 percent), skin cancer (91 percent), heat stroke/exhaustion (82 percent), dehydration (78 percent) and wrinkles (77 percent).
According to the survey, many participants were unable to identify the basic facts about sun exposure on their eyes, particularly when it came to children's increased risk of ultraviolet (UV) light exposure. For example, only a third of participants (36 percent) know that children's eyes are at greater risk from the effects of UV rays than adults.
"We have learned that many parents tend to think more about the sun's effect on their child's skin rather than on their eyes," said Jeff Spahr, staff vice president of Vision and Voluntary Services for WellPoint. "And many parents with children 18 and younger say they're more likely to tell their child to put on sunscreen than protective eyewear when they go outdoors."
Additionally, the survey reports that nearly four in ten consumers (37 percent) find it difficult to wear protective eyewear like sunglasses as much as they should. The top reason most participants say they don't wear protective eyewear more often is because they forget to bring it with them. Nine in ten participants (90 percent) say that if a convenient, effective way to protect their eyes and their child's eyes were available, they would be likely to purchase the product.
Additional survey results include:
- Nearly six in ten participants (58 percent) agree there are times they don't adequately protect their eyes from the sun even though they know they should. Furthermore, four in ten (41 percent) report that when they go outdoors, they rarely think about protecting their eyes from the sun.
- Older Americans are significantly more likely than younger Americans to believe that people should start protecting their eyes from the sun in early childhood.
- More than half of the participants (55 percent) say they wish they would've taken better care of their eyes when they were younger.
- When asked to identify whether the statement "children's eyes are at greater risk from the effects of UV than adults" is true or false, nearly half of parents of children 18 and younger (48 percent) said they didn't know.
"The survey findings suggest that more education and awareness about protective eyewear for sun exposure is essential, especially for children," said Pat Huot, director of Managed Vision Care for Transitions Optical, a provider of photochromics to optical manufacturers. "Long-term UV exposure has been linked to eye diseases such as cataracts, macular degeneration and other eye diseases later in life, so it's important to make sure people are doing everything they can to maintain healthy eyes."
According to the Vision Council, a recent cost analysis shows that eye disease health care expenditures reach $16 billion each year, an amount that exceeds expenditures for breast cancer ($7.2 billion), lung cancer ($5.6 billion) and HIV ($9.4 billion).
The omnibus survey was conducted online among a national sample of 2,500 Americans ages 18+ (balanced to Census). Fielding took place in July 2010 by Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS). The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.96% at the 95% confidence level, meaning if the study were replicated, the study findings would be within 1.96 percentage points 95 times out of 100.
About Transitions Optical, Inc.
As the leading provider of photochromics to optical manufacturers, Transitions Optical, headquartered in Pinellas Park, Fla., offers the most advanced photochromic technology in the widest selection of lens designs and materials. Transitions Optical is driven by innovation to support the advancement of healthy sight and adaptive eyewear, and to providing its partners the tools and programs their businesses need to thrive. Transitions® lenses are the #1-recommended photochromic lenses worldwide. They adapt to light to provide more comfortable vision while protecting eyes from UV.
About WellPoint, Inc.
WellPoint works to simplify the connection between Health, Care and Value. We help to improve the health of our communities, deliver better care to members, and provide greater value to our customers and shareholders. WellPoint is the nation's largest health benefits company, with more than 33 million members in its affiliated health plans. As an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, WellPoint serves members as the Blue Cross licensee for California; the Blue Cross and Blue Shield licensee for Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri (excluding 30 counties in the Kansas City area), Nevada, New Hampshire, New York (as the Blue Cross Blue Shield licensee in 10 New York City metropolitan and surrounding counties and as the Blue Cross or Blue Cross Blue Shield licensee in selected upstate counties only), Ohio, Virginia (excluding the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C.), and Wisconsin. In a majority of these service areas, WellPoint does business as Anthem Blue Cross, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield or Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield (in the New York service areas). WellPoint also serves customers throughout the country as UniCare. Additional information about WellPoint is available at www.wellpoint.com.
SOURCE WellPoint, Inc.