Ultraviolet Radiation (UVR) protection for the skin and the eye is among the most important aspects of preventive medicine in this century. This is because of the increasing hazard of UVR exposure due to the on-going depletion of the protective ozone layer. However, while we are all aware of the impact of UV light on our children’s sensitive skin and the need to wear skin creams to prevent skin cancer, little thought is given to its effect on their eyes.
Why are children's eyes more sensitive?
Children’s eyes are much more sensitive to light than those of adults. Their pupils are wider and their ocular tissues such as the cornea, lens and fluids contain less pigment and as such are clearer and allow more light to enter the retina. In fact, the clear lens of the young child transmits about 7.5 times the amount of potentially harmful UVR as the yellowing lens in the adult. According to the Eyecare Trust, a Charity which dedicates itself to raising awareness of eye health across the UK, up to 70% more UV light reaches the retina of children than an adult eye. And 80% of a lifetime UV is absorbed before a child hits his/ her 18th birthday. Damage caused by exposure to UVR is cumulative and therefore protection needs to begin as early as possible. If a child exceed its threshold, it is more likely that it will suffer eye problems in later life. It is worth noting that children with light coloured eyes are even more sensitive. They particularly need good protection.
What are the dangers of Solar Radiation?
Like skin, eyes have a limited tolerance of sun. Any unprotected exposure to solar radiation uses up the eye's sun tolerance and can cause irreversible lesions of the ocular tissues. The most fragile tissues are the crystalline lens and the retina.
UVA are the most harmful rays for the eyes. UVA radiation increases the risk of cataract (early ageing of the lens), skin cancer of the eyelids and macular degeneration (loss of central vision from the retina). Lesions caused by UVA are late developing.
Infrared radiation to the eyes. In the short term, infrared radiation causes sunburn of the eyelids and the eyes (conjunctiva, cornea or retina) and stinging. In the long term it causes slow degeneration of the ocular tissues, thereby accelerating the risk of cataract.
How do I protect my child’s eyes?
Consider the following:
Note that it is dangerous to let a child wear glasses without proper lenses. Darkened sunglasses don’t do the job alone. Darkened lenses without a UV filter not only do not protect the eyes but can also result in the pupils becoming larger (dilating). The eye therefore absorbs far too much harmful radiation. Do not let them wear novelty sunglasses if they does not have the European Standard CE mark or the British Standard BSEN 1836:2005.
At eyekit.co, every model of kids sunglasses is designed to improve protection, hold firm on the face in all conditions, and ensure absolute comfort and total functionality.
What should I look for in the best sunglasses for babies and toddlers?
Babies have no natural UV protection and up until the age of 3, small children look up to see the world. Consider the following when buying sunglasses to protect your baby or youngsters.