No matter your age, it’s important to protect yourself from UV rays while outside by wearing sunscreen and sunglasses. The long-term effects of even a small amount of UV radiation has been found to increase serious eye diseases, such as cataracts, cancer and growths on the eye like pterygium, explains Eye Smart. In the short term, you may experience photokeratitis, a sunburn of the eye that results in extreme light-sensitivity and tearing, warns the American Optometric Association.
Children are at particular risk of suffering from UV damage, says the World Health Organization. You can protect your children’s eyes by following the tips below:
- Remember, UV rays from the sun can damage your eyes at any time of the year, even when skies are overcast. Make sure your kids wear sunglasses with at least 99 percent UVA and UVB protection, along with a wide-brimmed hat whenever they head outdoors, advises the EPA.
- Educate your kids about the dangers of looking straight at the sun even during a solar eclipse. The intensity of UV radiation can damage their eyes and cause solar retinopathy.
The Benefits of Sunlight
Although the main focus around UV radiation always tends to be negative, there are some benefits for the eyes when spending time outdoors in the sun.
Firstly, some studies suggest that daily exposure to small amounts of natural light could help maintain light-sensitive cells in the eye. Since these cells regulate sleep-wake cycles, this has particular implications for the elderly and those suffering from insomnia.
A second benefit of sunlight is specific to children — research has found a link between spending time outdoors in daylight and a reduction in nearsightedness. This suggests that exercise outdoors could be the key to maintaining not only your children’s overall well-being, but their eye health as well.
Even though sunlight is good for kids’ eyes, it’s essential that children wear protective sunglasses whenever they go outdoors to minimize damage from the sun. Remember that throughout this month you can take advantage of the Real Kids’ Facebook promotion for 15 percent off your next purchase and free shipping on all orders of $25 or more.