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Survey Confirms Americans Have a True 'Blind Spot' Regarding Their Eye Health - and the Real Danger of UV Rays

New England Eye Institute and Transitions Optical, Inc. Poll Finds the Eye

Health of Americans at Great Risk

PINELLAS PARK, Fla., Nov. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- To an almost alarming level, a recent survey(1) finds that individuals remain largely unaware of the dangers that extended exposure to harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays can have on their eyes. The survey, conducted by the New England Eye Institute and Transitions Optical, found that while nearly 80 percent of consumers are aware that UV exposure can cause skin cancer, only five percent know it can harm the eyes.

Every single day -- whether sunny or cloudy, and despite the time of the year -- eyes are exposed to UV radiation from the sun. The survey found that more than half (57 percent) of respondents said they do not wear protective eyewear when in the sun for extended periods of time. With Americans spending an average of 3.5 hours per day outdoors, this is a significant amount of time for UV damage to occur each day - amounting to a potential of more than 1,000 hours of UV damage to their eyes each year.

"The risk that we place on our precious sight by not protecting our eyes is alarming," says Barry Barresi, O.D, Ph.D., president, New England Eye Institute. "Unless Americans recognize the threat that UV poses and take action to protect the eyes -- eye health issues, including cataracts, macular degeneration and cases of preventable blindness will continue to skyrocket." In fact, according to the World Health Organization, some 3.2 million people worldwide are blind as a result of cataracts, which have been linked to UV exposure(2).

Younger people, ages 18-24, are at an even greater risk for UV damage that will impact their vision later on in life as they are more active and tend to spend more time outdoors.

A proactive step every individual can take immediately to combat harmful UV rays is to wear photochromic lenses, which are prescription eyeglass lenses that automatically darken when exposed to UV light. Transitions(R) lenses are the #1 brand of photochromic lenses recommended by eyecare professionals worldwide. Blocking 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays and reducing painful, discomforting glare, Transitions lenses are the single most convenient way to protect the eyes from UV radiation and glare all day, every day.

Key Results from the Omnibus Survey:

-- Ninety-five percent of respondents are unaware that UV exposure can

cause eye damage.

-- Fifty-seven percent of respondents say they do not wear protective

eyewear when in the sun for extended periods of time. And with

Americans spending an average of 3.5 hours per day outdoors - this

amounts to more than 1,000 hours of UV damage to their eyes each year.

-- Forty-four percent do not have daily eyewear with UV protection, so

nearly half of the population is placing itself at risk for UV damage

to the eyes.

-- Nearly half of young adult respondents (age 18-24) say they do not

agree that UV protection is important at all.

Transitions Optical conducted this recent survey (this year, it has been conducted in conjunction with the New England Eye Institute) for the second consecutive year to further uncover what consumers know about the damage UV can cause and what steps they take to protect themselves. These findings will be used to shape and help support Transitions' consumer outreach campaign, which will continue to focus on educating the public about the need for UV and glare protection. To request more consumer UV awareness statistics and/or to schedule a phone interview with Dr. Barresi, New England Eye Institute, please contact Lauren Haralson at 212.614.4192.

About New England Eye Institute

The New England Eye Institute is a network of eyecare centers and programs whose mission is to improve the visual health of populations through excellence in collaborative and community-oriented patient care, education and research. As the teaching affiliate of the New England College of Optometry, and through its ongoing collaboration with area health professionals, the New England Eye Institute offers specialized services for the whole-person that begins by focusing on comprehensive eyecare.

The New England Eye Institute aims to deliver excellent eyecare for all people at 44 health care facilities throughout Massachusetts.

About Transitions Optical, Inc.

Transitions Optical is a joint venture of PPG Industries, Inc. and Essilor International. The first to successfully commercialize a plastic photochromic lens in 1990, today the company is a leading supplier of photochromics to optical manufacturers worldwide. Transitions Optical offers the most advanced photochromic technology and the widest selection of lens designs, materials and brand names.

Transitions(R) lenses are as clear as regular eyeglass lenses until dangerous UV rays are present. Then, the brighter the sun, the darker they get - getting as dark as sunglasses, providing protection in bright, glaring light. Since Transitions lenses darken only as much as needed, they can be worn comfortably year-round to provide convenience and 100 percent automatic UVA/UVB and glare protection every day - sunny, cloudy or in between.

For more information about the company and Transitions lenses, the first to earn the American Optometric Association's Seal of Acceptance for Ultraviolet Absorbers/Blockers, visit or contact Transitions Optical Customer Service at (800) 848-1506 (United States) or (877) 254-2590 (Canada).

(1) Survey conducted on behalf of New England Eye Institute and Transitions Optical, Inc. from July 12 - 13, 2007 by Opinion Research Corporation

(2) World Health Organization. (2002, August). Global Solar UV Index (

SOURCE Transitions Optical, Inc.
Copyright©2007 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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