Just because you’re a parent, it doesn’t mean you spend every waking minute watching your kids! Contrary to popular belief, most parents don’t spend their every waking minute focusing on their children! Between scheduling their kids’ activities, keeping the house from appearing as though it were ravaged by a hurricane and trying to serve up well-balanced and nutritional meals, parents might overlook some important safety tips to keep in mind as they enter into the long, hot days of summer especially when it comes to their VISION!
Since 2011 The Vision Council has conducted the Sun Protection Survey to measure UV knowledge and sunglass use. Consumers have more sunglass options than ever. Whether playing during school recess, for fun on weekends or as part of organized sports teams, children spend significant time outdoors. Research shows that children receive three times the annual sun exposure of adults and are especially vulnerable to UV-related harm. Unlike the mature ocular lens of an adult eye, a child’s lens cannot filter out UV rays as easily, allowing them to reach the retina. Keep reading for some vision statistics to keep in mind and vision Prevention, Protection and Wellness safety tips.
49% of adults don’t know that UV rays increase incidence of cataracts
43% of adults don’t know that UV rays cause cancer of eye and eyelid
36% of adults don’t know eyes can get sunburned
UV damage is cumulative and children receive 3 times adult dose of UV and are more susceptible to its affects
UV A rays can damage retina. UV B causes sunburn, pterygium(an abnormal growth on the surface of the eye), photokeratitis(sunburn of eyes cornea), cataracts, macular degeneration and squamous cell carcinoma of eye.
UV rays can be reflected by water, snow, sand and concrete. UV rays are increased during the hours of 2-4PM and 8-10AM more than midday.
You can get UV A and UV B protection from appropriate sunglasses that are labeled with this protection.
46% of adults only wear sunglasses when it is sunny, 12% never wear sunglasses.
Runners should wear sunglasses. Brown and copper colored lenses make it easier for golfers to see balls.
Cataracts provide some protection but not enough. Transition lenses do provide appropriate protection.
Myths about sun protection-darker glasses are better, you don’t need sunglasses on a cloudy day,children don’t need sunglasses.
How Can UV Radiation Damage My Child’s Eyes?
UV radiation endangers an unprotected eye in ways that can lead to vision impairment. Just small amounts of intense UV exposure can cause short-term problems, ranging from irritating to overtly painful. The following symptoms may indicate over-exposure to UV.
– bloodshot eyes
-hyper-sensitivity to light
The most extreme of these temporary problems is photokeratitis, which is sunburn of the eye. While photokeratitis can result in vision loss for up to 48 hours, symptoms will dissipate eventually. If your child has suffered a bad sunburn on his or her face, he or she may experience photokeratitis. Complaints of the following symptoms should be taken seriously and a doctor should be consulted immediately.
-red eyes; skin around the eyes is red and appears to be sunburned
-extreme sensitivity to light; constant tearing
-disrupted sleep and the feeling that eyes are burning, itchy or scratched
-severe eye pain and spasms of the eye or eyelid
Over time, the cumulative effects of sunlight can lead to eye diseases and conditions later in life. While some damage can be reversed through surgery, other conditions, like cataracts and macular degeneration, may result in permanent vision loss. It is never too early or too soon to protect your children’s eyes from UV exposure.
What Should I do to Protect My Child’s Eyes?
The more exposure your children have had to harmful UV radiation, the more at risk they are for these sight-threatening conditions. That said, it is still important for your child to be a kid play outdoors, enjoy the pool and splash in the ocean.
The answer is all about balance and protection.
-Limit outdoor time between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. the hours when UV radiation is strongest
-Arm children with UV-protective sunglasses whenever they step outside no matter where you are, whether it’s sunny or cloudy, or what time of year it is
What Should I Look For When Purchasing Sunglasses?
Any parent knows that children can be tricky to buy for. What your child loves today could be an item of the past tomorrow. It is important to do research before making a purchase and if possible, bring your child with you so that he or she can become a part of the experience. While UV protection is a must, finding sunglasses that your child feels comfortable in and likes will ensure that they are actually worn.
-UVA and UVB protection, often designated by a sticker or label
-Shop at a credible source; do not purchase from street vendors or online auction sites
-Comfort, comfort, comfort
-Plastic sunglasses are inexpensive and come in a variety of colors, shapes and styles (including popular characters) that may appeal more to young children
-Price does not necessarily indicate quality. For children who are more apt to lose their sunglasses, consider purchasing multiple inexpensive pairs to replace lost ones.
-Polycarbonate lenses and other impact resistant lenses are more able to withstand rough play and sports
-Spring hinges protect glasses from breaking despite constant tugging
-Rubber frames may feel more comfortable behind your child’s ears and provide a snug fit without pain pinches
-Gray lenses absorb all colors equally and may be a good option for younger children who are still learning how to associate natural colors
-UV-protective goggles can protect eyes from direct and reflected UV rays
-Hats should never be used in place of sunglasses; especially baseball caps which don’t offer peripheral protection
-Dressing up sunglasses can be fun but limit decorations; don’t let children draw on glasses or place stickers on the lens. This can scratch the UV protective layer
-Toy or costume sunglasses are not a supplement to the real thing; they do not have UV protection and can easily shatter or warp and cause more harm to the eye
Bottom line: Frequent sunglass use comes with practice. Reinforcing healthy behaviors by making your kids routinely wear sunglasses will help to get them in the habit of protecting their eyes. Set an example by always remembering to wear your own shades. It’s never too early or too late to start protecting your eyes
And finally Summer Safety Tips for Kids: Prevention, Protection and Wellness
1) Keep all fans, COMPLETELY out of the reach of any children, even kids as old as 10. For some reason, unbeknownst to adults, children love to touch fans, especially when they are in motion. The results can be devastating, ranging anywhere from deep cuts to the loss of a limb.
2) Apply sunscreen to your children as often as possible, if they are out in the sun for an extended period of time. This is not the sun strength many of us parents grew up with, and the incidence of skin cancer is on the rise. To protect your kids, make sure you use a sunscreen that contains UVA, has at least strength of 30 SPF, and is waterproof. And if your kids are playing in a body of water, apply sunscreen at least ever half hour. And make sure they wear a hat whenever possible.
3) Make sure your kids DRINK fluids. Playing outdoors under a bright sun, kids can become dehydrated quite quickly. Therefore give your children a water bottle filled with their favorite drink, which they can carry with them, as their reminder to drink throughout the day.
4) When you take your kids to the pool or the beach, NEVER leave them unattended. Even if your older children are good swimmers, they still need adult supervision in case of an emergency. It’s actually a good opportunity for your children to show you their swimming skills, and provides some great family bonding time as well.
5) Besides for wearing a hat, which should have a three-inch brim for optimum protection against sun exposure, children, should also wear sunglasses to protect their eyes. While kiddie sunglasses look cutesy, they often don’t provide children with protection. When purchasing sunglasses, make sure there is a label on the sunglasses that states that the glasses offer 99 percent to 100 percent UV protection.
This post is part of a sponsored conversation with The Vision Council but as is always the case all opinions expressed are my own