Fact: Looking at the sun may cause headache and distort your vision temporarily but it can also cause permanent damage. Any exposure to sunlight adds to the cumulative effects of ultraviolet (UV) radiation on your eyes, which has been linked to eye disorders such as macular degeneration, solar retinitis, and corneal dystrophies.
The human eye is ten times more sensitive to UV light than skin is. Children’s eyes are at the greatest risk of UV damage because big pupils and clearer lenses mean the light passes unimpeded into their eyes, damaging the retina. Without protection, extended UV exposure can lead to eye problems later in life such as age related macular degeneration, which can lead to blindness, and cataracts that blur vision.
How do I protect my child’s eyes from sun damage?
Simple protection measures such as a brimmed hat or cap and good quality sunglasses that protect against UVA and UVB rays, and a sunshade for prams and pushchairs are surprisingly effective. Most optical shops will have fun shades for children without much actual sun protection so make sure you buy sunglasses that come with a UV protection sticker. Foam frames are a good option for very young children and you can choose plastic or toughened glass for added durability. It would also be wise to keep your kids out of the harsh midday sun.