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Preparing Your Child’s Eyes For Sunshine and Summertime

April 10, 2012

Be sure that your child’s eyes are protected against harmful summer dangers.

Now that the weather outside is slowly becoming warmer and Spring Break is officially behind us, there will only be one topic on the mind of every child across the country for the next couple of months―summer vacation.

Summer vacation from school is a very exciting time for your children: long days spent swimming at the pool or beach, afternoons full of running around the neighborhood with friends, a season full of exciting new sports activities and camps. It is the one time of year that children (and usually parents) look forward to the most.

However, because summer vacation typically means more time spent outdoors in the sun, your children are at a higher risk of sustaining serious eye injuries. Luckily, there are many ways that you can protect your children from the dangers that summer often can bring to the eyes―you don’t have to hold them up inside all season long.

While you begin to prepare for the summer season over these next few months, whether that is through bringing out your favorite summer clothes or preparing your garden for some much-needed sunshine, make sure that you are also tending to the health and safety of your children’s eyes. To help you get started, be sure to keep these important eye care tips in mind this upcoming sunshine season:

Wear Proper Sports Goggles

Many children often go away to sports summer camp in the summer or are involved in seasonal organized programs. However, while helmets may be required for sports such as baseball or lacrosse, protective goggles and face guards typically are not.

The National Eye Institute reports that there are more than 100,000 sports-related eye injuries each year, and nearly 42,000 of these injuries require emergency care. Be sure that your child wears proper goggles with polycarbonate lenses while playing any kind of physical or racket sport.

Always Wear Sunglasses

More time outside usually means an increased risk of UV damage from the sun’s rays. While many parents understand the importance of wearing sunglasses, they often don’t realize that this is something that is even more important for children.

A recent study by the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles showed that children’s eyes can be seriously damaged from sun exposure, just like their skin. In fact, the lens of a child allows 70% more UV rays to reach the retina than in an adult.  Therefore, it is more important than ever to protect your child’s vision when outside.

When purchasing sunglasses for children, be sure to look for lenses that provide protection against both UVA and UVB rays. Also, the lenses should shield your child’s eyes from all angles, not just the front. It’s also important to keep in mind that children under the age of six-years-old may need glasses with a Velcro strap in order to keep them in place.

Avoid Sand Accidents

While lounging and playing on the beach can be a lot of fun, it can also be very easy to get sand in your  eyes. If sand gets blown or thrown into your child’s eyes, do not allow them to rub them. This can lead to painful damage to your child’s cornea, the outer layer of the eye.

If you child has sand in their eyes, be sure to take them to a sink or bathroom that has clean, running water. Fill up a clean cup with water and pour it over your child’s eye in order to remove the irritating sand particles. Also, do not discourage blinking or crying as tears can help to remove eye irritants. However, if this doesn’t seem to help, be sure to seek proper medical attention.

Summer can be an exciting time for the whole family to get outdoors and spend some quality time together. However, it is important to be aware of the vision risks that summer brings with it. Keeping these important eye care tips in mind will help ensure that your family has a fun and safe summer season.


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