Jonah’s very favorite book right now (it was one of Sophie’s also) is The Eye Book by Dr. Seuss (as his alter ego, Theo. LeSieg). I love to hear him “read” it (he has it memorized), especially the last couple of lines, “And so I say, ‘Hooray for Eyes! Hooray, hooray, hooray for eyes!” It is reedonkulously adorable. (As I’m sure you have no trouble imagining!)
But the truth is, of course, that eyes are obviously super-important. And I do say HOORAY! for them. I have worn glasses or contacts since the ripe old age of eight, and unfortunately have terrible vision – but it’s correctable, and I am so thankful for that! My husband has perfect vision and I’m hoping the kids catch his genetics on that, but I already know that Sophie is a tad nearsighted and will probably need glasses within two years. Bummer.
One thing I have literally given zero thought to until recently, though, is the way UV rays affect eye health. I seriously thought until last week when I sat in on a webinar provided by the Vision Council and t he Motherhood.com that sunglasses were just for eye comfort. It never occurred to me that the sun UV rays could damage eyes! Oopsie. Let’s just say I was very ignorant on that point.
My husband has very light-sensitive eyes and always wears his sunglasses outside and when driving, no matter the weather. But I rarely wear mine, mostly because I forget! Then I get outside or in the car and wish I had them, but it’s too late. And though our kids each have a few pair, they rarely wear them – mostly because I had no idea how important it was and I never made them. Until now!
Because let me tell you, so you won’t be ignorant as I was, UV rays can seriously hurt your eyes! UV radiation is the cause of the following eye problems:
Dudes, they showed us some pretty unpleasant photos of UV-caused eye damage in the webinar. I do not want my or my kids’ eyes to ever have any of the above problems! (If you want to see these dangers AND read a really informative report for yourself, check out the Vision Council’s UV safety report here .)
So, guys? If they’re not already wearing them, it’s time to get your kids some sunglasses. The good news is, they don’t have to be expensive, they just have to offer UVA and UVB protection. If your family is like mine, and not super-great at keeping up with things, you might want to get a couple of inexpensive pair for the kiddos. I know we are going to buy some to just keep in the car – put ‘em on in the car, take ‘em back off in the car when we get home and leave them there. And I, of course, have resolved to be much better about wearing mine. Also, we are going to be spending a LOT of time at the pool this summer, and my big kids like to swim with goggles on, so I am looking to purchase goggles with UV protection as well. I didn’t even know they had those! Jonah won’t keep sunglasses on yet, but we do have some for him and I’m going to encourage him to wear them and keep trying consistently until he gets used to the idea.
I’m sure it does not surprise you that my diva girl has no problem with wearing sunglasses!
Wondering what to look for when you buy your kiddos’ sunglasses? The Vision Council naturally had some great shopping tips for finding the right kids shades:
UVA and UVB protection, often designated by a sticker or label
Shop at a credible source; do not purchase from street vendors or online auction sites
Comfort, comfort, comfort
Plastic sunglasses are inexpensive and come in a variety of colors, shapes and styles (including popular characters) that may appeal more to young children
Price does not necessarily indicate quality. For children who are more apt to lose their sunglasses consider purchasing multiple inexpensive pairs to replace lost ones.
Polycarbonate lenses and other impact resistant lenses are more able to withstand rough play and sports
Spring hinges protect glasses from breaking despite constant tugging
Rubber frames may feel more comfortable behind your child’s ears and provide a snug fit without pain pinches
I talked to Joshua and Sophie about how important it is that we remember to wear our sunglasses outside and they are both pretty excited about it (at least for now!)
So, I’m interested to know – did you know how harmful UV radiation is to eyes, or were you in the dark (see what I did there?) like I was? Do your kids wear sunglasses? Why or why not?