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Summertime!

By Vanessa

This is an important and exciting topic for me!  It’s also my first Blog.  I hope that I am able to share some of my passion for eye health protection.

I see it so often, adults outdoors with sunglasses (a more appropriate name would be UV glasses) to protect their eyes from the bright sun, glare, and UV damage that occurs with exposure to the harmful UV rays. But the kids they are holding hands with are squinting and uncomfortable trying to keep the sun out of their little unprotected eyes. My intention is not to seem like I’m judging these parents, but wishing there was some way to express the need for their children to be properly protected.  It’s important for anyone outdoors during the day; bright and sunny or overcast to be wearing eyeglasses with UV protection.  Especially for children, since their eyes are much more susceptible to the damage.    

On my mission to share this knowledge with patients, I also share it with family and friends. I hear the reservations that family and friends all have about why they do not have their children wearing proper sun protection, that maybe patients are not sharing during our education at our office:

  1. It costs too much.
  2. My child(ren) will not keep them on!
  3. They will just get lost.
  4. They are too young to be wearing sunglasses.

I attempt to answer my family and friends’ concerns the best I can.  I’ll share the responses I give them, hoping that maybe this will be shared and we can get a few more children wearing sunglasses.

  1.     It is an expense, but an investment in the health of their eyes and ultimately their vision.
  2.     That is a challenge! I have a 4 year old, and the day he went home from the hospital he had a pair of Baby Banz on.  And every time he has been outdoors since (which is a lot and we live in Arizona) he has had a pair of sunglasses on.  Going into planning for my family, I knew that it was important to start him off early so he would just be used to it. That worked for the most part…. He got older and there were a couple stages here and there where he wanted to take them off. My response: “Okay, then it is time to go inside,” and I meant it.  ‘Mean Momma moments’ 😉  And so he learned that playing outside, getting in the car, or anything else having to do with outdoors means he needs to put his sunglasses on in order to do it. We will see if this ‘brilliant’ plan will be the same for my daughter who is due in July! Ha! All kids are different, but I hope with routine she will also learn the importance as she gets older as her big brother has.  He asks why he has to wear them as he’s gotten a bit older. I’m not sure that the importance is the main factor for him at this point, as much as the routine we’ve created for him. I will share with both of them as they get older why we all wear sunglasses when we are outside.
  3.     We’ve lost a couple also!  It happens, but they lose lots of things. I go back to how important this investment is for the protection of their eye health and vision. It’s estimated that 80% of sun damage to the eyes happens before the age of 18!
  4.     No one is too young for sunglasses. It is a big responsibility to remember to put them on, take them in and out of the case, clean them properly, etc. All things I currently help my 4 year old with, but he now knows where they go when he’s inside and goes to grab them to go out.  I still clean them.  But it’s just a part of consistency and a very healthy habit.

My first blog is getting pretty lengthy!  Is that how it should work?  I still need to share about the new health risk to our children’s eyes. Blue Light, from electronics!  We all spend a lot of time on our phones, tablets, watching TV, and handheld games. Each of these electronics gives off Blue Light, which is similar to UV and can be damaging to the health of our eyes. Adults and children should be wearing ‘technology’ eyeglasses to protect their eyes from the exposure.  These eyeglasses can be ordered with or without prescription depending on the child’s needs. For our younger ones, who also spend a lot of time on computers and tablets, they are at higher risk for damage due to the immaturity of built-up protection in their eyes (I failed to mention this above as the reason they need UV protection as well) and shorter arms which means the device is closer to their eyes.

My 4 year old wears a pair of ‘technology’ glasses anytime he gets screen time on my tablet. He knows that he cannot have that screen time unless he puts his glasses on. The two just go hand in hand. Again, we will see how this strategy works for my daughter when she’s old enough. 😉

Thank you for taking the time to read my first Blog on something I am extremely passionate about. I hope that you’ve enjoyed it. Please stop by or call our office anytime about getting your children in the proper eye protection.

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