When it comes to kid’s sun safety, it’s our habit to slather on some sunscreen and get a hat on their head—but what about their eyes? Do your kids wear sunglasses, or have you ever wondered if they need to?
It is vital that kids wear sunglasses from an early age for a myriad of reasons. Around half of our lifetime, sun exposure comes before the age of 18, and this exposure begins from the first year of life. It’s never too young to start wearing sunglasses. Experts recommend that children should wear sunglasses when they are playing outside for a significant amount of time, especially in direct sunlight.
Kids are exposed to an extraordinary amount of sun in their early years, and this does have a cumulative effect. Remember that even when it’s cloudy, harmful UV rays are present and sun protection should be year-round. ⛅
Common Eye Conditions That Result from Sun Exposure
50% of our lifetime sun exposure occurs before the age of 18. Because of this, many of the sun-related eye problems faced by adults can be prevented by wearing sunglasses from an early age. Some of the problems that may result from a childhood in the harsh Australian sun include:
- Pterygium (‘Surfer’s eye’) is a growth at the front of the eye that can cause redness, irritation and when advanced can affect vision. The highest levels of pterygium in the world are seen in Australia due to our high levels of sun exposure
- Sun damage to the crystalline lens – the eye’s lens, which helps focus light onto the back of the eye for clear vision can be damaged by excessive sun exposure, accelerating the ageing process and causing it to lose its clarity. Sunlight is a major risk factor for cataracts.
- Cancer – while eye cancer is very rare, it is important to remember that just like our skin can develop cancer from sun over-exposure, so too can our eyes.
How Do I Know Which Sunglasses to Choose for My Child?
You don’t have to spend a fortune to get the right pair of sunglasses for your children. If you make sure the pair you choose has standard UV400 lenses or 100% UV protection, you know your child will be getting the maximum benefit out of their sunnies. If possible, try and get a frame that wraps around to give protection from peripheral light.
Eyecare Kids is making it even easier to incorporate sunglasses into your traditional routine of “slip, slop, and slap”.
We are giving away over 200 pairs of kid’s sunglasses (for ages 3-9) at each of our locations in Bankstown, Broadway, Chullora, Hillsdale, Kareela and Roselands until 29 February 2020 or while stocks last. Visit our practices and mention our “Back-to-School Free Sunglasses” offer or bring along your voucher.
Sun protection never looked this cool! Here are some of the kids who received free sunglasses, courtesy of Eyecare Kids.