Living in the gorge, the sun is shining a lot. Outdoor play is a very popular past time and protection from the sun should go hand in hand.
Many do not understand the importance of proper eye wear. It is not just for people who have trouble seeing. Eye wear, in this particular case sunglasses, are needed for all ages. Being a parent myself, I didn’t realize the importance of using sunglasses on my children. No matter what the weather, sun or snow, the UV radiation that our eyes are exposed to is a much bigger deal than I ever thought.
Children who wear sunglasses are not only fashionable, but they will learn from an early age how to take care of their eyes. Beginning eye care at an early age can help prevent future damage to the eyes, as well as injuries that may occur. It is our job as parents to line children up with the proper tools to care of themselves as they get older. Eye care is a very fun and easy place to start.
In regards to our children, parents need to be aware that the use of glasses can have two major functions, preventative care and eye protection. A child’s eyes are not nearly as developed as that of an adult. Because a child’s eyes have not completely developed, at birth an infant’s eyes are 100% transparent; compared to the eyes of a person in their mid-20’s, whose eyes are only 10% transparent. Once damage has been done to our eyes, it cannot be replaced or fixed. A very good example of this is when you or your child spend a significant amount of time outside, damage can be done to the endothelial cells. These cells act as water pumps to help regulate the thickness of the cornea and the amount of water that it can hold at a given time. Once the damage is done to the endothelial cells, they are lost. They do not reproduce and there is no way to just get more from your eye doctor. Once the damage is done to these cells, it makes our eyes more susceptible to UV-radiation and further damage.
Sunglasses are an accessory that need to be used year around. It is not just on the hot sunny day in July that you and your children need to wear protective eyewear. A great way to look at the use of sunglasses is when you are getting ready to go outdoors, in the sun or in the snow, you protect yourself from the elements. It is very common for a person to lather up their children in sunscreen before going outside. Just like you know you need to protect your child’s skin, you also need to help protect their eyes. In the winter, the same rules apply. Your child is getting ready to go outside, and as a parent it is inevitable for you to put a hat, mittens, snow boots and pants on your child to protect them. But, how often do you think about needing sunglasses to protect their eyes from the glare on the snow and ice? It is so important that we prepare our children with the skills to have lifelong eye health. Year-round use of sunglasses or UV-protective eyewear is the best way to protect and prevent damage to the eye. Adults and children alike, should protect their eyes from the harmful causes of UV; regardless of age or weather conditions.
Sources: Sunvision Magazine: March 2016 (pg. 14-16)
20/20 Magazine: March 2016 (pg. 40)