We all have a favorite feature that we like to “play up” and for me it’s always been my eyes. Not a day goes by that I don’t leave the house without putting on my favorite eyeshadow, eyeliner and mascara. If you were to ask me a few weeks ago how I protect my favorite facial feature, I would have said by eating right, sunscreen and protection in the form of anti-wrinkle cream around my eyes. I’ve invested a lot of money over the years in designer sunglasses, but nine times out of ten, unless it’s the heat of summer, I’ve forgotten them at home. I feel foolish saying this, but I did not realize until I was asked by The Vision Council to participate in the educational session – UV Protection is a Family Affair on Wednesday, June 18th in honor of National Sunglasses Day, how I’m putting my eyesight in danger by unintentionally leaving my sunglasses at home.
About seven years ago I watched my grandmother have various eye procedures done including cataract surgery. I thought it was a disease that only affect the elderly, not something that could affect any one of us if we don’t protect our eyes. Medical advisor, Dr. Dora Adamopoulos mentioned during the educational session – UV Protection is a Family Affair that she treated a patient who was an ex-lifeguard in her early 30s who was suffering from cataracts from not wearing sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection.
If that wasn’t scary enough, I was startled to hear how horrible the sun is to children’s eyes/vision, especially babies and young kids. While I don’t have children of my own at this stage of my life, the thought that being out in the sun without adequate protection can harm kids vision for life makes me ill. According to The Vision Council “UV radiation can cause short-term problems for children and adults including bloodshot eyes, swollen eyes, and hypersensitivity to light.” We wear sunblock to protect ourselves and our family from sunburn, but without proper eye protection we can experience photokeratitis, which “can result in vision loss for up to 48 hours”. Some of the symptoms of photokeratosis include “red eyes, skin around the eyes is red and appears to be sunburned, extreme sensitivity to light, constant tearing, disrupted sleep and feeling that eyes are burning, itchy or scratched; severe eye pain and spasms of the eye or eye lid.”
The good news is you can protect your eyes and your children’s eyes by limiting your time outdoors from 10 am to 4 pm as this is when UV rays are the strongest, and to always wear sun protection regardless of the weather or time of the year. If you’re in the market for a new pair of sunglasses, make sure they offer UVA and UVB protection. Never purchase sunglasses from street vendors or online auction sites as you don’t know if they offer adequate UV protection. Last but not least make sure they are comfortable, as you and your child will be more likely to wear a pair if they fit well.
It is never too early or too late to start wearing sunglasses to protect your precious eyes. Just remember once your eyesight has been damaged, that damage can never be reversed.
Thank you to The Vision Council for my Tumi and Kidz Banz sunglasses and this fabulous opportunity! You’ve helped me to realize the importance of wearing sunglasses, I no longer leave the house without them.