Protect your Children’s Eyes From UV

Protect your Children’s Eyes From UV

Australians are educated since a young age to put on sunscreen
and to understand the dangers of sun exposure to our skin.
However, what about the sun’s impact on our children’s eyes?

Hats and good UV protection sunglasses are best to protect the whole family’s eyes from the risk of eye diseases and vision loss caused by UV.

Why “sunscreen” for eyes?
Australian Skin Cancer Foundation found that “our eyes are 10 times more sensitive than our skin”. We need to protect our family’s eyes from glare and damaging UV rays. While the early morning sun is a good source of vitamin D, we need to limit the exposure of harmful UV to our skin and our eyes. Excessive UV exposure to our eyes may cause certain eye conditions and diseases such as cataracts, pterygium, and skin cancer around the eye.

“I wear sunglasses during summer”… Think again…

Australia has some of the highest levels of UV radiation in the world, which means during our winter months we are also exposed to the same UV rays and glare. Dangerous UV rays can be reflected off wet surfaces, roads, pavements, and snow.
If we or our children spend a lot of time outdoors, look out for wrap-around sunglasses with good UV rating (Australian Standard level 3 and 4 for the highest glare protection). When unsure what to look for; ask your local optometrist for advising what is best for you and your children.

Did you know that children are more sensitive to UV than adults?
Believe it or not; we receive 80% of our lifetime’s exposure to UV before our 18th birthday. If you think about it; children go outside during recess or lunchtime at school, they play outside with their friends, play outdoor sports, go to outdoor playgrounds, or simply walking to and from school. It is very important that our children spend time outdoors to enhance their learning; however, as parents, we have to provide required protection for their skin and eyes.

Slip Slop Slap
It has been shown that only 32% of Australian children protect their eyes from UV compared to 57% of their Australian parents (according to WHO research 2001). The good news is that we have easy access to protection UV eyewear in Australia; wearing a wide-brimmed hat and good quality sunglasses will reduce glare and stop the harmful UV rays that can penetrate our children’s eyes.

I must admit, as a parent myself, it is difficult to be consistent and persistent to get our child to wear sunglasses. When you have found some good sunglasses with proper UV protection, let your child have a say and pick out the design of the sunglasses they want. This will encourage them to actually wear them. Also, remember to model the wearing sunglasses habit; as our children like to copy their grown-ups.

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