ALEXANDRIA, Va., May 19 (UPI) -- More than 55 percent of U.S. adults lose or break their sunglasses each year, putting their eyes at risk of sunburn or eye disease, eye experts say.
The Vision Council found for those who lost their sunglasses, and the 27 percent of adults who do not wear sunglasses, exposure to ultraviolet radiation could result in result in short-term damage from bloodshot or sensitive eyes, or painful conditions like photokeratitis -- sunburn of the eye.
High doses of ultraviolet radiation can lead to long-term health issues like cataracts, abnormal eye growths, cancer of the eye and surrounding skin, and macular degeneration, the Vision Council said.
The Vision Council -- an optical industry trade group -- found 20 percent of people do not feel their eyes are at risk for sun exposure and 11 percent do not believe unprotected exposure to ultraviolet rays causes health problems.
"Sunglasses and other ultraviolet protective prescription eyewear remain the best defense against ultraviolet damage to vision," Dr. Paul Michelson, chairman of the Better Vision Institute, said in a statement. "In my practice, I've seen firsthand the painful and sometimes devastating consequences of unprotected ultraviolet eye exposure, most of which could be prevented by using ultraviolet-blocking sunglasses."
The Better Vision Institute, a panel of eye experts, advises the Vision Council.