Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Why do parents take better care of their own eyes than the eyes of their children?

I went to the Puyallup, Washington state fair last week.  It was a hot, sunny day and the fair was jam packed with kids and their parents.  Out of the hundreds, perhaps thousands of kids I saw that day, my kids where the only ones in sunglasses.  But at least half the parents I saw were in sunglasses.

Why do parents take better care of their own eyes than the eyes of their children?

Kids are not being protected from  UV radiation

My own observations at the state fair are confirmed by a report that was issued by The Vision Council in May 2012, that shows that while 73% of adults do wear sunglasses, only 58% of them make their children wear sunglasses.

UV exposure over time can cause eye disease and permanent vision loss

The report suggests that too many people still do not understand the serious damage that UV exposure can have on your eyes. Even fewer realize that it is cumulative exposure over time – which happens on both sunny and cloudy days – that leads to vision threatening diseases. One such disease, macular degeneration, leads to permanent vision loss and their is no cure..

The solution is to wear sunglasses and regular eye glasses with proper UV protection. Kids need this more than adults because the lens of a child’s eye is not as good as blocking UV rays as the lens of an adult eye.  Other diseases that you can protect against by wearing sunglasses are cataracts and skin cancer around the eye

Wearing sunglasses should be seen as a serious preventative health measure. Here is what macular degeneration can do to your vision:

UV damage also causes cataracts. Here is what cataracts can do to your vision:

Skin cancer around the eyes

Optometrists are always mindful of the possible development of skin cancer in the skin surrounding the eyes.

In fact, the eyelid region is one of the most common sites for nonmelanoma skin cancers. Skin cancers of the eyelid, including basal cell carcinomasquamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma, account for five to 10 percent of all skin cancers.  The best way to prevent this type is skin cancer is to reduce your exposure to UV radiation which comes with sunlight. The best way to do that is to wear sunglasses and eye glasses with advanced and more effective UV technology built into the lenses.

To learn more about skin cancer around the eyes, read the following studies:

  • Abraham J, Jabaley M, Hoopes JE. Basal cell carcinoma of the medial canthal region. Am J Surg1973; Oct; 126(4):492-5.

The right UV lens technology makes the difference

It is also important to realize that not all lenses are the same at blocking UV rays. Even lenses that claim 100% UV protection actually don't deliver on that promise. However, newer lens technologies are tackling that problem and provide much better UV protection.  These lenses, such as Crizal Forte UV lenses come with an ESPF 25 rating which denotes far superior UV protection than ordinary lenses. To learn more read our previous post on new UV lens technologies.  Another important thing to realize is that you can get advanced UV protection in non-sun eyewear.

Sunglasses now or botox later

Sunglasses and eyewear with advanced UV protection also have cosmetic benefits. They prevent wrinkles from developing around the eyes.  That will save you thousands of dollars in botox later in life!

Image od boy in sunglasses courtesy of chrisroll /