Ultra-violet light can be particularly dangerous to babies' eyes. We look at the smartest ways to keep them safe in the sun.
Fortunately, it's not difficult to get kids to wear sunglasses, as there are stylish, hard-wearing models available which have fashion appeal and a sense of fun.
But the dangers of UV exposure can be even greater for babies, and let's face it, you won't be able to explain to the tinies why it's essential to protect their eyes.
Because the cornea, lens and fluids are clearer in babies, and the pupil is bigger, allowing more light to reach the retina, UV light penetrating the eye can cause several short-term or long-term vision problems:
- Corneal sunburn or photokeratitis
- Pterygium, a growth on the white of the eye
- Macular degeneration, a leading cause of vision loss in older people
- Cataract, clouding of the lens
- Skin cancer around the eyelids
Even on dull days, up to 80 percent of UV light can break through cloud cover, and in the conditions commonly encountered on holiday, such as snow or water, reflected light can present a danger to young eyes—particularly blue eyes, which are more at risk than brown.
The key to finding eye protection the little ones will be comfortable with is to look for lightweight, durable, fitted designs that wrap around to prevent ingress of UV from the sides and which protect against both UVA and UVB light.
Commonly available in a range of sizes, from 0-2 and from 2-5, baby sunglasses usually have adjustable elasticated headbands rather than earpieces, flexible frames and 100 percent UV protection. Also available are waterproof swim goggles with anti-fog properties, corrective lenses and even ski goggles with double-layered, shatter-proof lenses and toughened frames.
So, if you pick the right protection and make sure it's used when essential, there's no reason why you can't protect little eyes against the dangers of UV from day one.
This feature was originally published in the summer edition of Healthy Child with Dr Ranj Singh, which you can also read here!