Canadians aren’t taking proper care of their eyes: new survey

ZEISS Eye Health Index shows disconnect on UV protection

TORONTO, April 24, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Canadians who wear prescription glasses rank UV protection near the bottom of important features when purchasing clear prescription glasses, according to a national survey on eye health by ZEISS, an international leader in optics and optoelectronics.

To raise awareness of eye health in Canada, the company commissioned the ZEISS Eye Health Index, a Leger poll of 1,557 Canadian residents. The findings revealed a disconnect between how all Canadians view the threat of UV radiation to their eyes, versus what prescription eyeglass wearers deem important.

Safety ranks near the bottom
The survey found less than four-in-10 Canadians who wear prescription glasses (38%) feel that UV protection is important when purchasing clear glasses; this placed safety near the bottom of a list of choices. Comfort (72%) and price (70%) top the list of important features, followed by scratch resistance (52%). Nevertheless, half of all Canadians polled (48%) say that UV radiation was the main threat to eye health, followed by cataracts (38%) ocular melanoma (cancer of the eye) at 23 per cent and photo aging (18%).

“UV rays are dangerous since we cannot see them, even though they are present on sunny and cloudy days,” said Dr. Ritesh Patel, Director of Optometry at See & Be Seen Eyecare. “With full UV protection, we can help prevent or slow down macular degeneration and cataracts, which gravely impact more than four million Canadians."

Eye health and the UV spectrum
Most clear lenses only block parts of the harmful UV spectrum – up to 380 nanometers (nm) or less. To date, this has been accepted as the standard level of UV protection for clear lenses. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) has established 400 nm as the recommended standard for UV eye protection. The organization also estimates that 50 per cent of blindness worldwide is caused by cataracts and roughly 20 per cent of all cataracts are caused or worsened by UV radiation.

An estimated 80 per cent of all clear eyeglass materials do not fully block to this internationally recognized standard of 400nm.

Closing the UV protection standard gap
With its UVProtect Technology, ZEISS is enabling the standard of UV400 for clear lenses across all lens materials. The company’s clear lenses add 40 per cent more protection from UV rays. ZEISS does not patent its UVProtect Technology in order to encourage other industry leaders to also raise the level of UV protection for all patients around the globe.

Sunscreen for the eyes
“Most people know that prolonged UV exposure is bad for their skin, and at the very least will wear a hat or apply sunscreen, but when it comes to their eye health, they disregard the risks,” said Bryan Rossi, General Manager of Carl ZEISS Vision Canada. “UV protection is sunscreen for the eyes and it’s imperative that people recognize the detriments, especially for those under 18.”

A company with a public purpose
With its 170-year history, ZEISS is unique in the eye care industry as a preeminent optics company, and one wholly owned by a foundation. The company’s profits are fully reinvested into optical science, research, education and community outreach, and there are no shareholders. Today, approximately 10 per cent of the global ZEISS workforce is employed in research and development, working to continuously advance the field of optics.

About the ZEISS Eye Health Index
A survey of 1557 Canadians was completed between March 22 to 25, 2019, using Leger’s online panel. This included a sub-sample of n=1058 Canadians who identify as wearing prescription glasses.  The margin of error for this study was +/-2.5%, 19 times out of 20.

ZEISS is a global leader in technology, operating in the fields of optics and optoelectronics. The ZEISS Group develops, produces and distributes measuring technology, microscopes, medical technology, eyeglass lenses, camera and cinema lenses, binoculars and semiconductor manufacturing equipment. With its solutions, the company constantly advances the world of optics and helps shape technological progress. ZEISS is divided into four business segments: Research & Quality Technology, Medical Technology, Vision Care/Consumer Products and Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology. The ZEISS Group is represented in more than 40 countries and has over 50 sales and service locations, more than 30 manufacturing sites and about 25 research and development centers around the globe.

Further information is available at

Media Contacts:

Jessica Patriquin, Account Supervisor, MAVERICK PR
Phone: 416-640-5525 x 230

Jihan Aziz, Account Executive, MAVERICK PR
Phone: 416-640-5525 x 238

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at

Closing the UV protection gap