Eye experts caution parents to protect their babies and kids eyes from
cumulative and damaging effects of the sun. They say it's never too
early to start wearing sunglasses that protect against ultraviolet rays
that can cause eye disease.
University of Alabama-Birmingham optometrist Leo Semmes, O.D., said
that when it comes to sun protection, "the younger, the better."
Damaging effects to the eyes from exposure to sunlight is cumulative,
and most of us have reached up to 50 percent exposure by the time we
are 18. But by protecting eyes with sunglasses and brimmed hats, we can
block much of the sun's damaging UV rays. And how young should you
start? "As young as you can keep them on 'em," Semmes said.
The earlier children start wearing sunglasses the better their chance
of avoiding major eye health problems later in life. The sun's UV rays
contribute to potentially blinding conditions like cataract and macular
Children's eyes experience more UV radiation than adults
because they usually spend more time outdoors and their eyes let more
UV rays in. Children are more
prone to sun damage to the eyes as their
pupils are usually larger and the lenses clearer than adults.
Eye damage is cumulative, so start toddlers off early in life
with the best UV protection!
The decrease in the ozone layer also lets more UV rays into
Wide-brimmed hats keep out about 50 percent of UV radiation
but children also need to wear sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent
of both UV-A and UV-B radiation.