As winter rolls around, many parents become less diligent about making sure their children wear sunglasses, believing they’re out of danger from damaging UV rays until summer comes around. However, failing to wear sunglasses with 100 percent UV protection puts your children at risk for sunburn of the eyes, no matter what time of the year it is.
Because of the position of the sun, UV light can actually be stronger during the winter. In addition, snow can reflect up to 85 percent of UV rays, which can lead to photokeratitis or snow blindness, a severe sunburn of the eyes.
Snow blindness can cause several symptoms, including a burning pain, blurred vision or vision loss, as well as the sensation of a foreign body in the eye. Kids are particularly susceptible at high altitudes where sunlight is more intense and when partaking in sports, such as skiing, snowboarding and sledding.
Photokeratitis can result in two types of acute eye damage, appearing six to 12 hours after high exposure to the sun. One form is called pterygium, a pink growth on the white of the eye, while the second is called pinguecula, or yellow bumps on the surface of the eye. In most cases, you can cure the condition with eyedrops. However, sometimes surgery is required to remove the growths.
Other Winter Risks to the Eyes
Sun damage isn’t the only problem your eyes may face during the winter months. Cold air can cause the mucous membrane in the eye to dry out, leading to the unpleasant side effects of stinging, itchiness and redness.
In addition, failing to take care of your children’s eye safety can also result in cumulative damage, beginning with small and unnoticeable changes. This slow deterioration of the cells can turn into serious conditions, such as age-related macular degeneration or cataracts later on in life, warns NY Daily News.
You can prevent all of these risks by ensuring your kids wear sunglasses whenever they head outdoors this winter. Check out Real Kids’ collection of fashionable sunglasses to protect your kids’ eyes year round.