While parents protect their kids’ skin with sunscreen, they are twice as likely to protect their own eyes versus their kids’ eyes. Children are exposed to more sunlight than adults, and they can’t filter out harmful UV (ultraviolet) light as effectively as adults because their eyes are still maturing. Additionally, the skin around children’s eyes and their eyelids is more delicate and vulnerable than their parents’ skin.
UV rays can cause short-term damage such as photokeratitis, or “snow blindness,” which occurs all year long, not just in the summer. Long-term damage may include pterygium (noncancerous tissue growth on the eye surface), which is cosmetically unattractive and prevents wearing contact lenses, as well as pinguecula, a raised growth on the white of the eye. In addition, too much UV exposure can also raise someone’s risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataracts, and other eye diseases.
Sunglasses protect the eyes, but it can be hard for kids to remember to wear their sunglasses on the playground. If they wear prescription glasses, a great option is sun-darkening Transitions® lenses. Keep reading for tips on selecting sunglasses and more about Transitions® sun darkening lenses.
When shopping for kids’ sunglasses, look for UV protection that blocks BOTH UVA and UVB (long and short) rays. Make sure the sunglasses are both durable and fit snugly. Let kids choose their own within these parameters, and then be the “keeper” of the sunglasses so they aren’t lost or forgotten. And don’t forget to set a good example—both parents wearing sunglasses regularly makes a difference.
The Mayo Clinic advises all the above, as well as wearing wide-brimmed hats and, of course, good sunscreen.
Transitions® sun darkening lenses
If your kids wear prescription eyewear, the easiest solution is selecting Transitions® sun darkening lenses. These automatically darken when exposed to UV rays and automatically return to clear indoors. Transitions® sun darkening lenses have been available for many years, and many improvements have been made since their inception. Kids especially love them because they are now available in fashionable colors such as purple in addition to standard options such as grey and brown.
Also, with the increasing use of digital screens, blue light protection has become an important feature. Transitions® sun darkening lenses with blue light protection help relieve eye strain and prevent sleep disruption. For kids especially, choosing Transitions® sun darkening lenses for their prescription eyewear keeps their eyes safe in the sun without mom or dad keeping track of a separate pair of sunglasses. If you’d like to learn more about sunglasses or Transitions® sun darkening lenses for kids, give us a call today in St. Louis or St. Charles to book an eye exam for your little one.