Protecting Your Child’s Eyes from the Sun: How, Can & Why Should You Do This?
During summer, the talk is all about using sunscreen. But did you know that protecting your child’s eyes is just as important? That’s why the favourite slip, slop, slap now includes a wrap. It’s to wrap on your sunnies, the good old kid’s sunglasses. But why is it important to protect our children’s eyes? Isn’t a hat enough? Let’s dive into this deeper …
What Does the Sun Do to Our Children’s Eyes
The sun has three types of UV radiation: UVC, UVA and UVB rays. UVC rays are absorbed by the ozone layer, which exposes our children to harmful UVA and UVB rays. Light coloured eyes are more susceptible to these rays as they absorb more.
When these two UV rays reach our children’s eyes, they can affect different layers within the eyes. The cornea at the front of the eye is what protects the eye from UVB radiation. When the eye is exposed to too many UVB rays, corneal damage occurs resulting in lesions, inflammation and even growths. UVA rays pass through the cornea, reaching the lens and retina inside the eye. Too much UVA exposure leads to cataracts and macular degeneration.
Why Protecting Your Child’s Eyes Is Important
Your child’s eyes need to be cared for just as much as their skin does. The damage UV rays cause to their eyes is irreversible and with most sun damage occurring during childhood, the time to act is now.
- While UV skin damage occurs most from 10am-4pm, with eyes this is not the case. UV sun damage to eyes happens all the time. It can even depend on the angle of the sun in the sky, with mornings having higher UV eye exposure than midday.
- UV eye damage is cumulative. A little bit here and there adds up and can cause cataracts, macular degeneration, pterygium, solar keratopathy and skin cancer on the skin around their eyes (sounds scary, right?)
- Until a child is 10 years old, their eyes have a greater risk of damage than an adult has. This is because their eyes are still developing, plus are highly sensitive to sunlight.
How Can I Protect My Child’s Eyes?
When protecting your child’s eyes, there are two main things you can do:
- Encourage them to always wear good quality children’s sunglasses
- Encourage them to always wear a wide brimmed hat
One of the best brands of kids sunglasses are Baby Banz, which we sell here in our store. They block both the UVA and UVB rays and have an elastic support to help keep them on the child’s head. A wide brimmed hat can block up to 50% of UV rays, so this is a must too!
Staying safe in the sun is so important for all of us here in New Zealand. But so is having fun in the sun! Take a look through our range of funky kids and baby sunglasses today.