“Don’t forget to take your sunglasses!”
This is the phrase that my kids have been hearing me say practically every sunny day since I attended a LensCrafters Back to School Breakfast event. (Let’s just put aside the fact that NYC students don’t even get out of school until next week.) I learned so much about eye health at the event. I’m sharing the “Physical Education” part about eyewear for athletic and outdoor activities as well as protecting a child’s eyes from UV rays with kids sunglasses now. I’ll share the rest of the things that I learned (about screen time, nutrition and more) in-depth in late August/nearer the start of the 2014/2015 school year.
Anyway, I had no idea that UV rays had so much potential to damage a child’s eyes! If you want to, you can download and listen to this recording that I took of my conversation with Dr. Michael Chernich, O.D. at the event: “Physical Education” conversation with Dr. Chernich”.
Meanwhile, below are Dr. Chernich’s 6 main points:
1. Kids (who need prescription glasses) will usually need a primary pair of glasses. An additional pair of sports glasses/goggles may be needed for extra protection depending on the activity level of the sport.
2. If kids play outdoor sports (or are just outside for any extended period of time on a sunny day), they should wear a good pair of sunglasses…whether they wear prescription glasses or not.
3. **In any instance when you think that you should put sunblock on your child, have them put on their sunglasses.** Children are exposed to much more UV rays than adults for a couple of reasons. 1. They tend to spend more time outdoors than adults. 2. They rarely wear sunglasses.
4. Children’s eyes (until they are about approximately 15 years old) are not well developed to protect against the sun’s harmful UV. On average, 70% more UV gets to a child’s eye than to an adult’s eye because their eyes are not fully developed yet. As such, it is more critical for kids to wear protective sunglasses than adults.
5. Make sure that you look at the labels on sunglasses. Lenses should provide 100 percent UVA and UBV protection.
6. Teach children that sunglasses are an important part of their healthcare.