How to protect your kid’s eyes from UV rays
Summer is approaching in New Zealand and along with it come the BBQ’s, days out at the beach, and not to forget – higher levels of Ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
It’s safe to say that we all know about the damaging effects UV exposure can have on the skin, yet many of us aren’t aware of the damage UV rays can have on the eyes. Professor Mark Daniell of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO) warns that UV exposure can cause serious eye diseases (some of which include cataracts, corneal sunburn, macular degeneration, pterygium and skin cancer around the eyelids), which can lead to vision loss and eventually blindness. Everyone, including children, are at risk of this, and by the age of 20, the average person has already received 80% of their life’s UV exposure.
But why are children more at risk of eye damage caused by UV rays?
In short, children have more transparent lenses and are therefore at greater risk of internal eye damage. This is caused by overexposure to UV rays, and since children spend more time outdoors than the average adult they can be exposed to three times the annual adult dose of UV. The effects of overexposure to UV might not even be noticeable at first, but may show up later in life with higher risks to eye-related diseases. Even direct contact with sunlight for a short period of time can lead to long-term eye problems!
So how do I protect my children from UV rays?
Similarly when protecting your child from getting sunburnt, wearing hats to shield from direct sunlight and taking regular breaks from the sun is recommended, however, the best way to protect their eyes are with sunglasses. UV rays aren’t necessarily always coming from above but are also reflected from surfaces such as sand, the ground, water and snow. So making your child wear sunglasses outside is absolutely crucial. However, not all sunglasses are guaranteed to protect your child’s eyes!
So make sure you find the right pair of sunglasses that:
- have lenses with UV 400 protection
- are rated category 3 of the Australian Standards for UV protection as recommended by RANZCO
- have a wraparound frame to minimise unfiltered sidelight, with lens coatings to block reflected light
have polarised lenses.
- use them along with contact lenses with UV protection to add an extra layer of protection
While there are many inexpensive sunglasses options that provide UV protection, the consistency of the tints and quality of the frames may be inferior, therefore investing in a good quality pair recommended by your child’s Optometrist is the best and safest way to go! Alternatively, trusted and authentic children’s sunglasses are also to be found at SmartBuyGlasses, their huge selection is perfect for finding a protective pair at relatively at the best prices!