Ultraviolet and You (Part 3): Why Is That Child Wearing Sunglasses?

Posted on June 25, 2012 · Posted in Eye Health, Eyeglasses

So let’s summarize what we’ve discussed in Parts 1 and 2 of the Ultraviolet and You series.  First, we learned that cumulative ultraviolet light exposure increases our risk for a number of conditions including skin cancer, cataracts,  and macular degeneration.  Second, we learned that it can be incredibly easy to reduce eye risks by simply wearing UV-blocking sunglasses.  We further discussed what to look for and avoid when selecting sunglasses.  A natural question, then, is “when should someone first start wearing sunglasses?”.

The World Health Organization estimates that as much as 80% of our entire lifetime exposure to UV rays occurs by the age of 18.  80% by age 18!  How is this possible?  Kids spend much more time outside than most adults.  And although all children are at risk, consider the following:

  • The higher the altitude (ie. hiking, skiing), the greater the UV exposure
  • The more reflected light (by snow or water, for example) the greater the UV exposure.

Armed with this information, it becomes easy to answer the question of why that child is wearing sunglasses.  The earlier someone starts protecting their eyes the better.  Are you and your little one(s)?

We’d love to keep the discussion going.  Please feel free to add a question below.