Do your child a favor when they visit their optometrist for back to school eye exam this year. Discuss sunwear protection with the eye doctor. Lifetime doses of UV radiation from the sun are associated with nuclear sclerosis. This is a type of cataract where the lens yellows then turns brown similar to plastic left outdoors for a few years. UV exposure has also been implicated as a risk factor for macular degeneration, and recent studies suggest even visible blue light may be damaging.
If you live in an area like Fort Collins at high altitude and snow, closer to the equator, or spend time around lakes or the ocean, your child’s exposure rate is much higher.
Think of sun protection for the eyes just like sun protection for the skin. No reputable childcare center allows children on outdoor excursions without sunscreen. It should be the same for your child’s eyes. UV (Ultraviolet) protection with sunwear that is tinted or transitions lenses that are clear indoors and darken outdoors are both good options. If you child spends a large amount of time in outdoor activities consider sunglasses that wrap around on the side. If you Normal eye glasses may allow 35% of the light in from the side. Gray is the tint that alters color perception the least but brown is popular also.
For non prescription sun wear avoid the cheap $5.00 variety. Look for something with an 100% UV protection. Expect to pay $30 to $40 at minimum for the quality your child deserves. Poor quality sunwear may actually damage your child’s eyes by dilating them and allowing more UV exposure with inadequate protection.
By starting early you are providing preventative care for two of the leading causes of blindness.