It is important to protect our eyes from the sun. Excessive Ultraviolet (UV) radiation can do significant damage to bodily tissues, including the eyes. Proper protection of the eyes includes a combination of reducing exposures, using caps and visors with a wide brim, in addition to ophthalmic protection (sunglasses and/or UV blocking contact lenses).
Only 6% of Americans know they need sun protection for their eyes. Fortunately, 73% of adults wear sunglasses. What about the kids? Less than 44% of children wear sunglasses. It is more important for children to wear sunglasses than adults. Here are 13 reasons why children should wear sunglasses:
- The lens of the child’s eye transmits about 70% more UV than the adult eye, putting their retina at a larger risk.
- The cells of the lens of the eye are never replaced; the proteins of the lens are never replenished. The lens cannot repair itself; damage accumulates over a lifetime causing cataracts and other eye conditions.
- Kids under 10 are at a higher risk for both skin and eye damage, because their skin and eyes are more fragile.
- Children are outdoors much more than adults, therefore it is likely that over 1/2 of their life exposure to the sun will occur within the first 20 years of their life.
- Very bright sunlight – reflected off sand, snow, water or the pavement – can cause immediate damage to the cornea.
- Kids look up more, which means they are constantly looking into the sun.
- It is up to adults to train their children about the damage sun can do. Like wearing seat-belts and bike helmets; children can be taught about sunglasses, but only if they have them.
- Children will not recognize the injury or damage of a sunburn on the eye like they do with a sunburn of the skin.
- The long-term effects of sunburned eyes are cumulative and not completely reversible. The development of cataract, pterygium and macular degeneration begin with childhood UV exposure.
- Hats only protect from above, not below, where reflected UV from water, sand or concrete can do a lot of damage.
- With ozone depletion our children are at greater risk of UV exposure than we were growing up.
- The variety of sunglasses for kids make them easy and comfortable to wear. Quality sunglasses provide 100% UV protection. Westside Optometry carries Babiators sunglasses for infants and children.
- Sunglasses are cool.