Why kids eyes need UV protection too

Girl in colourful swimwear and purple sunglasses

When it comes to letting the kids play outdoors, most parents know how important it is to wear sunscreen, but the effect that Ultraviolet Radiation can have on their eyes is often overlooked.

Protecting children’s eyes from harmful Ultraviolet Radiation (UV).

Spending time outside is something kids love to do but did you know this makes their average UV exposure three times higher than that of an adult?

As a parent it’s important to be aware of the hazards of too much sun exposure.

So what are the dangers associated with sun exposure?

95–97% of the UV (Ultraviolet Radiation) that reaches the earth’s surface penetrates deeply into the skin, where it can contribute to skin cancer and accelerated skin ageing. Excessive sun exposure can also damage the eyes causing sunburn and cataracts over time.

The crystalline lens protecting the eye is more transparent in children. As a result, for children under the age of 10, over 75% of UV is transmitted by the crystalline lens, compared to 10% of UV in those older than 25 years.

The good news is that you can enjoy the outdoors with proper UV protection. To read more about what UV is check out our earlier blog UV: why all the fuss? and this fact sheet from the World Health Organisation 'Protecting Children from UV' 

Don’t forget to protect your child’s eyes!

You’ve probably read and heard so much on protecting skin from UV exposure but it can also be harmful to their eyes.

The sun can cause severe damage early on even though it may only present itself later in life in the form of cataracts (responsible for 48% of blindness worldwide) or damage to the skin.

On top of the long-term damage, your child can also get eye sunburn that can be very painful.  

How to protect your child’s eyes from UV

The Cancer Council recommends protecting the eyes at all times when UV level is 3 or above. During summer in Australia, all parts of the country experience long periods during the day when the UV level is 3 or above. The eye receives direct UV radiation when facing the sun. Reflected and scattered light also have a strong impact in contributing to the total UV exposure to the eyes. Sunglasses can also be useful when the UV index is below 3 to help with sun glare and reflections.

One of the best ways to stop or slow down the development of various eye diseases, is by wearing clear or tinted lenses designed to block harmful UV and higher energy visible light from reaching the eyes. 

UV protection sunglasses 

There are many fun sunglass designs for children, but bear in mind that it’s more than just a cool accessory. Just like you select a good sunscreen with a high SPF, take care in choosing quality sunglasses that provide UV protection:

  • Purchase UV400 sunglasses, which means they block 100% of UV rays (this is often visible on the product with a UV400 label, or you can ask your eye healthcare professional to be sure).
  • If your child does watersports or skiing, you can consider polarised lenses which reduce glare.
  • Sunglasses labelled as toys are not covered by the Australian Standard and therefore should not be used to provide sun protection.

TicTasTogs sunglasses have been tested by the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency as offering UV400 protection. 

They are also polarised and made from reclaimed skateboards! This makes them lightweight, colourful, durable and a great choice in UV protection eyewear! Check them out in this video.

Pair with TicTasTogs kids swimwear for maximum sun protection this summer! Enter code SUNNY to receive 15% OFF your order!

Want to know more? Read facts on sunglasses and children from the Cancer Council. 

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Have a great summer!


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