The Importance of Eye Protection from the Sun for Kids

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Last updated on January 27th, 2020 at 10:03 am

Parents are always concerned for their children’s health and safety. As a result, most kids sport sunscreen when outdoors. However, according to the Vision Council, more than half of parents neglect to enforce their kids to wear sunglasses, an essential aspect of sun protection for any child. Recently, the Wall Street Journal highlighted the dangers of overexposure to the sun, especially in young children.

kid's sunglasses
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The Dangers of UV Exposure on the Eyes

Overexposure to ultraviolet rays is a cumulative process that can cause permanent damage. Children are at a higher risk for retinal damage as their ocular lenses are still immature. As a result, they’re unable to efficiently filter UV light through their retina. For this reason, a child’s UV exposure is about three times more powerful than that of an adult. Even more staggering is the fact that 25 percent of one’s UV exposure occurs before you turn 18, explains the Wall Street Journal.

Over the years, UV exposure can lead to cancer of the eye or eyelid and can contribute to a higher risk of cataracts and macular degeneration, the latter being the main cause of blindness in adults. Recently, scientists have discovered why exposure to sunlight causes cataracts. UV rays oxidize vitamin C in our eye lenses, which can disorder its natural proteins, causing this debilitating eye ailment. 

High Risk Activities

Lighter colored eyes can increase one’s susceptibility to UV damage, but certain activities can also pose a danger to the eyes, including surfing, sailing, skiing and staying on the beach. This is because sand, water and snow all reflect UV light and can cause sunburn of the eye, leading to temporary vision loss.

Sun Protection for Kids

Children should wear sunglasses with close to 100 percent protection across the UV spectrum, including UVA rays (absorbed deep within the eyes) and UVB rays (absorbed in the cornea and lens). The best options are wraparound styles that lie close to the face and block out rays from above and around sunglasses.

Make sure your kids’ eyes are protected this summer by checking out Real Kids’ online catalog of stylish shades. It’s never too late to protect your children from the sun’s UV rays.

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