A recent survey conducted by the Vision Council of America[1]found that only 50% of children today own or wear sunglasses.  What most parents do not realize is that it is more important for children than adults to have some sort of sun protection for their eyes from ultra violet (UV) exposure.  There are two reasons for this: first, the lenses of children’s eyes are more transparent, which means that a larger percentage of harmful UV rays pass through into the eye, leaving kids more vulnerable to the effects of sun damage than adults; the second reason is that 80% of an individual’s exposure to UV in their lifetime occurs before the age of 18.


The facts are clear: because of the decreased ability of children’s eyes to block out the harmful UV rays and because of the increased amount of exposure to UV during childhood, you should always ensure that your child has some kind of protection for their eyes before heading outside.  Studies conducted by the Glaucoma Research Foundation[2] found that by reducing your child’s chronic UV exposure today, you can significantly reduce their risk of developing premature aging or wrinkles, cataracts, skin cancer, burns on the eye itself (also called photokeratitis), sun burns around the eyes, macular degeneration, glaucoma, abnormal growths on the eye (also called apterygial), and other diseases later on during their adult years–many of which can lead to blurred vision or blindness.


Children are not the only ones, however, that benefit from wearing sunglasses.  If you are an adult, wearing sun protection regularly can also protect you from the harmful effects of UV listed above.  According to the Vision Council of America[3] individuals who spend many hours outdoors for recreation, who take such prescription medications such as tetracycline, birth control pills, diuretics, and sulfa drugs, who have had cataract or lasik surgery, or who have certain retinal disorders are at a higher risk for UV damage than others.  By wearing sunglasses or hats, adults can protect their eyes in the same way that sunblock protects their skin.


Stop by or contact The Eye Works, Ltd., located on 126 W. Main Street in Barrington and 820 W. Rte. 22 in Lake Zurich.  The optometrists at The Eye Works, Dr. Ralph Gebert and Dr. Anthony Prate, are not only trained in diagnosing many of the common complications caused by prolonged UV exposure, but are also knowledgeable sources about the many different types of sun protection available today.  The Eye Works carries both prescription and non-prescription sunglasses for adults and children.


Remember: UV rays are present during all seasons, rain or shine, and are invisible to the eye.  Therefore, most of the time you do not even realize that harmful rays from the sun are passing into your eye.  So do not wait until this summer to stop by the Eye Works to get your child or yourself some sun protection.  Call (847)381-0391 or (847)540-1144 for a consultation today.


[1]Vision Council of America, “UV Protection.”   http://www.checkyearly.com/eye... (accessed April 30, 2008).
[2]Glaucoma Research Foundation, “A Guide to Sunglasses.”  http://www.glaucoma.org/living... (accessed April 30, 2008).
[3]Vision Council of America, “UV Protection.”   http://www.checkyearly.com/eye... (accessed April 30, 2008).