The tiny-sized, colorful swimsuits lining the store shelves this time of year are enough to get any parent excited to take their little bundle of joy to the beach or pool this summer. But it’s best to take precaution before letting your little one soak in the sun. Ultraviolet light from the sun can have serious effects on everyone’s skin and eyes no matter how old you are; but it’s important to know that your child’s eyes are even more susceptible to damage from UV radiation. In fact, 80% of all UV exposure occurs before the age of 18.
UV light has been associated with several eye issues including cataracts, macular degeneration, and cancer. Children are more at risk for retinal damage from UV rays because their pupils are larger and the lens inside the eye is clearer, which enables more absorption of UV radiation into the eye.
This is why it’s important to keep your child’s eyes protected when spending time outdoors. Younger children, those under six months of age, should stay even more shielded from the sun as their skin is not yet protected by melanin and their eyes are especially fragile.
One easy way to keep your little ones protected outside is to avoid the sun’s peak hours. Try to limit the amount of time spent outdoors between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. when UV light is most intense. And remember that UV radiation is still abundant when it’s cloudy, so stay protected on overcast days too.
When you’re having fun in the sun, keep yourself and your children covered up with clothes, a broad-brimmed hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses with UV protection. But choose wisely when it comes to sunglasses by following these tips: