It’s summer! Fun times are to be had in the summer but because of the UV index, it’s also a time for damage to occur form the sun’s radiation which increases during the summer. Below, Dr. Eric Brooker, who owns Las Vegas, Nevada-based Advanced Vision Institute, shares his knowledge if maintaining a child’s ocular health during the summer months.
Children are more susceptible to damage from UV radiation than adults, especially their eyes. Children’s eyes are less capable of filtering UV radiation than are adult eyes, resulting in greater risk for internal eye damage. Here are some tips that can be used to avoid short term and long term cumulative damage to children’s eyes from the sun:
1. Utilize sunglasses that block UVA, UVB light and even some low wavelength visible light. Buying sunglasses from the dollar store can actually damage the eyes more that certified name brand protective eye wear.
2. Get sunglasses that wrap from the sides and top so peripheral UV light cannot enter the eye. UV light can lead to conditions such as sunburn of the eyes (solar keratotis) which is very painful. It can also lead to long term damage to the eye resulting in macular degeneration or cataracts.
3. Overcast days can be the most damaging because the UV light is often intensified and people do not protect their eyes. This is one of the most important times to utilize protection.
4. Hats with a brim are very effective at cutting out the sun’s radiation . This is a good way to protect children when outside.
5. Areas surrounded by water such as lakes, pools, and oceans reflect light and intensify it which can lead to faster and more severe damage. It essential to protect children when doing activities around water.
6. When applying sunscreen be sure to apply at least SPF 30 to the face. The tissues below the eye are very susceptible to long term UV damage and can result in skin cancer.
7. Children should have their eyes examined by at least 6 months of age in order to rule out any other risks to UV exposure
8. Be sure to get transition lenses for children that wear prescription glasses which provide outdoor protection and change from light to dark offering continual protection for kids going inside and outside during summer months.
9. Limit time an intense sun to a few hours a day maximum. The longer the exposure time to UV radiation the worse the damage can be.
10. The damage caused by the sun decreases after 5 pm and is most intense from 10am to 4pm, so coordinate the time of day that children are outside in intense sunlight. When they are outside at peak times it is essential to provide them with proper the protection.