It’s time to protect your child’s eyes!

SunglassesWith summertime upon us, it’s time to think about how you can protect your child’s eyes!  Whether the child needs prescription glasses or not, there are things you can do now to make sure you preserve your child’s eye health in the summertime and all year round.

Wearing sunglasses with UV protection is important starting at an early age.  The damaging effects of sun are cumulative over a lifetime, so what you do now can affect ocular health later!  From cataracts to growths on the eyelid to macular degeneration – there are many eye conditions that are affected by exposure to sunlight.  The sunglasses don’t have to be fancy, just make sure you get a pair with “100% UV protection,” which are widely available at our optical shop and many retail stores.  These lenses are designed to block both UVA and UVB rays.  It is also beneficial to choose a wraparound style to minimize sun exposure from the sides.  Additional features such as polarization are optional.  Let your child pick out a fun pair of sunglasses so he/she will be extra motivated to wear them in the sun.  Wearing a hat in the sun can provide additional protection.

Many kids are playing sports now that the weather is warm.  It is important to consider protecting your child’s eyes during sports whether the child needs corrective lenses or not.  Please avoid wearing regular eyeglasses for sports as they can easily break and cause injury.  Protective eyewear is built to be worn during sports and is less likely to break due to impact from sports.  Over 85% of kids do not use protective eyewear in sports that present a risk for ocular injury.  Over 90% of all eye injuries in sports could be prevented by wearing sports glasses such as Rec Specs.  Don’t wait until after an injury has occurred to think about wearing eye protection in sports!  Stop by our optical shop and our opticians would be happy to give you more information.

Swim goggles are another consideration for children in the summer.  Wearing swim goggles protects eyes from the chemicals in pools and can help to reduce irritation.  Many of our patients who wear glasses could benefit from wearing prescription swim goggles in the summer so that they do not lose glasses wear time while they are in the pool!

For our patients who wear contact lenses, it is important to reinforce proper lens wear habits in the summer.  Remember not to swim in the contact lenses because this practice significantly increases the risk of infection.  This includes pools, lakes, ponds, and oceans!  Of course, be sure to remember to always remove contact lenses when sleeping as well.  If you wear contact lenses, don’t forget that you still need to wear sunglasses when outdoors.

Finally, with the summer often comes fireworks.  In the field of ophthalmology, this is a significant concern because fireworks can cause blinding injuries.  Please do not allow children near fireworks of any kind!

Summertime is a great time to come in for an updated eye exam.  Call one of our three convenient locations to schedule your child’s eye exam!

By Dr. Melissa Shipley