Sun damage is cumulative. So it's absolutely critical that children wear sunglasses as soon as they begin to spend time playing outdoors.
How Are Children’s Eyes Different From Adults’ Eyes
Children's eyes allow more UV rays to penetrate, which is why they should wear sunglasses from an early age. Because UV light causes cell damage in the eye, children are at a higher risk for a variety of sight-threatening eye diseases later in life.
Another reason children require additional eye protection is because they tend to spend more time outdoors than adults. Increased exposure, combined with their sensitivity to UV light, warrants the use of eye protection.
Common Eye Problems Caused by Sunlight
UV exposure has been shown to increase the risk of the following eye conditions:
Cataracts refers to the clouding of the eye's lens, typically described as seeing through a frosty window. However, to prevent or delay the onset of this disease, it's important to limit UV exposure.
Pterygium, often called "surfer's eye", is a wedge-like growth of the conjunctiva, the outer protective layer of the eye. It develops when UV radiation causes cells in the conjunctiva to divide abnormally, resulting in a whitish growth near the cornea. Pterygium is a condition that affects both eyes and can expand to the pupil. When this happens, your cornea becomes misshapen and vision distorted.
Photokeratitis & Photoconjunctivitis
In both cases, UV radiation from the sun causes inflammation of the tissues within the eye. Photokeratitis is the inflammation of the cornea, while photoconjunctivitis is the inflammation of the conjunctiva, the eye’s outer protective membrane that lines the eye, eye socket and eyelids.
These conditions are common in children and may be accompanied with various unpleasant symptoms, like pain and blurred vision.
Skin Cancer Near the Eyes
Although sunscreen is necessary for skin protection when outdoors, most people forget to apply it near their eyes. Unfortunately, this may raise the risk of developing skin cancer around the eyes. It's important to note that skin cancer tends to develop as a result of years of UV exposure, so the sooner you protect the skin around your child's eyes, the better.
Regular Eye Exams
Not all sunglasses are the same, and not all kids have the same requirements. Schedule an eye exam with Kosnoski Eye Care in one of our 5 locations to find sunglasses that meet your child's needs and preferences. We can assess whether your child requires prescription lenses and guide them in finding a suitable fit.
- A: If you allow your child to choose a pair of sunglasses that they like and that fully protect their eyes, they will most likely be happy to wear them.
- A: When purchasing sunglasses for your child, make sure that they block 100% of UVA and UVB rays. They should be large enough to cover as much area around the eyes as possible.
Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses. Visit Kosnoski Eye Care for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.