Throughout the different seasons, there are different health concerns families need to be aware of, especially when it comes to their children. In the summertime, we spend more time outside and therefore, increasing our exposure to ultraviolet rays. One of the most common concerns are ensuring yourself and your child’s skin is protected from the harmful effects of the sun. Unfortunately, because this is one of the more prevalent summertime concerns, we have a tendency to overlook other areas of the body that can be damaged by the sun.
On a bright, sunny day, most people wouldn’t think twice about throwing on their sunglasses when heading outside to shield their eyes from the sun and children should have the same protection, too. Research shows that in comparison to a lens of an adult, a child’s lens allows 70% more UV rays to reach their retina. By ensuring their eyes are protected, it helps prevent them from developing common eye problems later on in life.
Here is just a partial list of those common eye problems that you should be aware of:
- Over-exposure to the sun’s UV radiation can cause the cells of the eye – inside and out – to divide abnormally. This abnormal division can cause tumors – both malignant and benign.
- “Surfer’s Eye” is common in coastal regions and is caused by sun exposure. This affects the cornea which can affect your ability to focus clearly.
- Overexposure to the sun also effects the lens of the eye as well as the retina which can lead to macular degeneration and cataracts later on.
Sunglasses and sunscreen should be a common routine throughout the summer and it is important to remember that sunglasses should be worm even on days that are not sunny as UV rays can pass through the clouds.
A good rule of thumb to help protect your children’s eyes is to put sunglasses on them if they are going to spend any extended amount of time in the sun. It’s never too early to start this practice. You’ll want to use standard tinted glasses, not the colored lenses that are popular with kids. Specifically, try to find sunglasses that block out 100% of UV rays.
To increase the likelihood that children will wear their sunglasses, find a few pairs of glasses with different themes and let your child pick out which one they like best. For younger children who may have a harder time keeping on their sunglasses, use a large hat with a wide brim or a visor. Families can also purchase an elastic band that will hold the sunglasses in place, which your child may like better and find more comfortable.
What tricks have you found worked to help your child enjoy wearing their sunglasses?