Children’s eyes cannot effectively filter out UV rays which means that they are receiving three times the exposure of an adult4, right from birth. Hats do help and the ‘no hat, no play’ policy enforced in most daycare centres and primary schools in Australia is fantastic. What an amazingly positive change in behaviour from just a generation ago. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could extend that behaviour to shading our kids’ eyes with sunnies as well as a hat. What a huge difference this would be to their long term eye and vision health. Given that up to 80% of a person’s LIFETIME UV exposure happens before the age of twenty5, changing the current perception and behaviour and making sunglasses the norm from a very early age would surely make a significant difference.
As parents of kids with vision issues I’m sure I’m preaching to the converted on this topic but I wanted to put it out there anyway in the hope that we can be the change makers. Let’s spread the word and hopefully slowly but surely behaviours will change. Let’s plant the seed of change with our kids, our friends’ kids and then hopefully kids grabbing a pair of sunnies and sliding them on will just be second nature.
1.Cancer Council Australia
2.Ultraviolet Fluorescence Photography to detect early sun damage in the eyes of School- Aged children. Ju-Lee Ooi, Neil Sharma, Daya P Sharma, Shanel Sharma et al. American Journal of Ophthalmology. 2006;141:294-298
3.Cancer Council Australia
4.The Vision Council, https://www.thevisioncouncil.org/content/uv-eye-protection/kids
5.World Health Organisation