When my son was a toddler, he would tear up every time we went out in the bright son. He eventually grew out of it but he’s always been very light sensitive. So when The Vision Council invited me to a webinar, I was intrigued.
According to a recent report (PDF) by The Vision Council, 40 percent of U.S. adults do not wear sunglasses while outdoors and more than half of parents do not protect their children’s eyes with sunglasses. When you combine that with the fact that children will accumulate 80 percent of sun exposure by the time they are 18, you can see that there’s a real need, beyond fashion, to have sunglasses for your children.
We’re a sunglasses family. My daughter wears glasses, so each pair of glasses she has owned has been transition lenses (and parents, please, get the anti-glare, too – your photographs will thank you!)
We even kept her last pair of glasses when she got new ones, and she uses those while swimming. She wants to be able to see and have her eyes shaded, and you just don’t get that in a pair of swim goggles.
When we travel, sunglasses are a must for the whole family. And I’ve now learned that it’s more than just shading your eyes from the sun, it’s protecting them from the sun’s rays, too. Sunburn of the eye is real, in the form of photokeratitis. When you’re out and about on the beach, on a boat or anywhere for that matter, sunglasses protect you from the sun, which is strongest between noon and 4 p.m.
The Vision Council has a handy tool to check where in the world the UV rays are the strongest. Just go to http://www.missingsunglasses.com/, type in your ZIP code for the UV index in any city. Puerto Rico, because of its location near the equator, has the strongest UV rays in the U.S. Internationally, Australia has the highest.
I saw a report on the news at some point that said most cheap sunglasses have as good or better UV protection than more expensive lenses. If you’re unsure of what kind, if any, your sunglasses have, most eye doctors have a UV meter and will test lenses for you. Scratches on lenses will diminish the protection, so it’s better to spend a few dollars for a new pair than pay for eye damage later.
We always travel with sunglasses for the whole family. But now, I’m going to make sure we each have a good case for our sunglasses to minimize the risk of breaking them in our travel bags and to protect them from scratches. So the next time you’re worried about sunscreen and skin cancer, take a moment to grab those sunglasses. Your eyes will thank you.
Disclosure: I was compensated for attending the webinar and writing this post, although the opinions are my own.