Summer offers wonderful opportunities to spend time with your children. Amidst the fun, it’s good to be mindful of how the sun and free time can affect your children’s eyes. Between the bright sunlight outside and the blue light of screens inside, there are eye risks to take into consideration. Children’s eye care in OKC or elsewhere can help you find ways to monitor for these risks. However, to stay ahead of the game and prevent eye problems in the first place, here are a few notable questions you may want answers to.
Why do your kids need eye protection in the sun?
Summer offers a lot of ways to damage your kids’ eyes and skin. Sunlight and outdoor activities both feature exposure to harmful ultraviolet rays, often called UVA and UVB rays. Long-term exposure to UV rays can lead to anything from a sunburn on the eyes (called photokeratitis) to eye cancer. Most experts believe that the maximum lifetime exposure to these rays happens between the ages of zero and 16. These are the years when children are most active outdoors.
In addition to using sunscreen of at least SPF 30, children should wear protective clothing and sunglasses that block at least 99% of the harmful UVA and UVB rays.
How do you choose sunglasses for your kids?
Since your children will likely be active outdoors, you will want to make sure that the sunglasses you choose have durable frames. They should also have side panels or a wrap-around design.
Do sunglasses provide enough protection?
Sunglasses are a crucial component of protection, but they aren’t enough. You will also want to provide a wide-brimmed hat to protect their eyes from above, clothing to protect their skin and a good, child-friendly sunscreen. Optometrists who specialize in children’s eye care in OKC and nationwide can assist with other suggestions for protecting your children and their eyes in the summer sun.
Are there other signs of vision problems in children?
Damage from UV rays isn’t the only possible problem with summertime eyes. Because you are probably spending more time with your children in the summer, you have a better chance chance of noticing any other vision problems they may be having. Generally, kids who are having trouble seeing will engage in give-away behaviors including:
- Squinting – May show problems with focusing on objects.
- Covering or closing one eye – May indicate a lazy eye problem.
- Sitting too close to the TV screen or holding a book too close to their face – May indicate nearsightedness or myopia.
- Rubbing their eyes a lot – May indicate a number of vision problems or some physical problems like conjunctivitis.
- Experiencing eye pain or frequent headaches – May result from eye strain and indicate other problems.
If your children are showing any of these signs, talk to your pediatric optometrist.. You’ll want to make sure that the problem can be dealt with before the eye-intensive school environment is in full swing.
Is the blue light from screens a problem?
No matter how hard you work, your children are going to spend more time than you like in front of screens – even in the warm and wonderful summer. Kids today spend a lot of hours in front of electronic screens. They watch TV and movies and read on e-readers. And, they play online games – lots of them.
However, studies have shown that children may be more susceptible to absorb the blue light from screens than adults are. Some of these studies have hinted that too much exposure to this blue light can contribute to the development of macular degeneration later in life. Even in the present though, over-exposure to blue light can give children fatigue, dry eyes and irritated eyes.
Blue isn’t, of course, all bad. In fact, it makes viewers more alert and can help develop daily rhythms. Nonetheless, the decreased contrast caused by blue light on screens can contribute to eye fatigue and may even damage the retina, leading to long-term complications and even cataracts. Excess exposure to blue light can lead to migraines and sleep problems too.
To help combat these effects, try to limit screen time as much as possible.
Keeping the summer fun with children’s eye care in OKC and beyond
Following these guidelines and avoiding risks to your children, especially risks to their eyes, is vital in the summer. You will want to be sure that they return to school in the fall with the best vision possible. Vision Care Direct of Oklahoma can work with you to find great ways to protect your children and their eyesight during the sunny summer months. Take advantage of our pre-paid vision plans so you can ensure your kids, and the whole family, can get comprehensive eye care in the summer and all year round.
Contact us today to learn more about how our negotiated savings on children’s eye care in OKC can benefit you.