By Smarty Guest Blogger, Jay Russell , Manager – Optical/Contact Lens Departments, Licensed Optician, Charlotte Eye Ear Nose and Throat Associates
With spring here and summer fast approaching, you need to consider how best to protect your child’s eyes from exposure and injuries. A quality pair of sunglasses can provide simultaneous protection from both. The key is to ensure the sunglasses are worn consistently anytime they are outdoors.
It has been estimated that up to 80% of the UV damage done to our eyes in our lifetime occurs by age 18. A child’s eye, because the lens is so much clearer than that of an adult, can transmit 70% more UV. The damage done by UV accumulates over the years leading to an increased risk of permanent eye damage or disease.
For the record, your mother was right. Lighter colored eyes are more sensitive to sunlight and they are also more susceptible to UV damage to the retina. Your retina is in the back of your eye and is the part responsible for forming the images we see.
A recent study in Vision Monday showed that while as many as 1 in 3 children above the age of 14 wear sunglasses regularly, fewer than 1 in 8 below the age of 10 do. And for children with no vision correction, less than 2% regularly wear sunglasses.
There is another protective reason children should wear quality sunglasses when outdoors. Eye injuries are the number one cause for blindness in children. Each year sports related eye injuries result in over 100,000 injuries to children. Of these injuries, over 13,000 result in some form of permanent vision loss. 43% of the injuries were in children under the age of 15 years old. It has been estimated by the American Academy of Ophthalmology that wearing proper sports glasses could reduce these injuries by 90%.
A pair of good quality sunglasses with polycarbonate lenses can help protect your child from both of these dangers. Polycarbonate is an extremely impact resistant lens and is a natural UV filter, blocking 100% of the damaging UV rays. Polycarbonate is also a very light weight lens material which increases the comfort of the sunglasses to encourage children to keep them on. Combined with a sturdy frame, you can greatly reduce the risk to your child’s eyes and help ensure their long term eye health. Beware of cheap sunglasses; they can potentially be as harmful as not wearing anything. In 2014, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission required the recall of several brands of cheap children’s sunglasses that had surface paint containing unacceptable levels of lead.
The key to providing this protection is to convincing your child to wear the sunglasses. By allowing them to have a part in choosing the frames you can greatly increase their voluntary participation. Frames are available in many styles, shapes and colors and even the lens colors can be varied to suit individual tastes. For the more athletic minded, you can place sunglass lenses in their sport goggle frames.
Of course, we carry all the options mentioned above at Charlotte Eye Ear Nose and Throat Associates along with trained opticians to help you make your choice. Don’t forget, 80% of vision problems are avoidable or curable world-wide with proper eye care checkups, so make your appointment today by calling 704-295-3000. Visit www.goodsenses.com for more information on the services we offer.