Why Should Kids Wear Sunglasses?
If we go to the beach or walk in the park with our kids, they are exposed to the same UV rays as we do. We wear sunglasses to prevent sun damage to our eyes. So why is it that many kids still don't wear sunglasses while their parents do?
What is so harmful about Ultraviolet light (UV light)?Without going into too much detail about each eye disease, some diseases of the eye , which are caused by UV rays include:
- Pterygium and Pinguecula: Benign but unpleasant-looking growth on the white part of the eyes.
- Cataract: Clouding of the lens inside the eye.
- Age related Macula degeneration: degeneration of the central part of the eye which is necessary for seeing fine detail.
- Basal Cell Carcinoma: The most common eyelid cancers in Australia
A study has found that sensitivity of the human lens towards UV radiation is highest at a younger age. Young and Sands (1998) stated that people may receive up to 80% of their lifetime cumulative UV radiation before the age of 20. Furthermore, the lenses of children under 10 years old transmit blue and UV light more than that of adults and therefore may be at increased risk of retinal injury.
On a study by Ooi et al (2006) of 71 Australian children age between 3 to 15 years 10% were found to have developed pingueculae (benign growth on the conjunctiva-white part of the eyeball) from the UV damage and that 70% of the children had increased UV fluorescence, which maybe the earliest indicator of UV changes in the body.
Which UV is harmful?
Sunlight is comprised of UVA (wavelength of 315-340 nm), UVB (280-315nm), UVC (100-280nm), visible light (400-700nm) and infrared light (>700nm). The most damaging to the eyes and skin is the UVB.
According to the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency, the highest UVB radiation is present during summer midday and can be as high as ten times the amount of UV radiation on a winter midday.
It's never too young to start wearing sunglasses. We cannot put sunscreen on our eyeballs and it does get sunburnt. If there is such thing as " no hat no play" maybe "no sunglasses no play"?
Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety AgencySunglasses and Protection from Solar Ultraviolet Radiation Fact Sheet 7
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