Summer is the time of year many kids look forward to most. School is out and there is usually much more time for fun and relaxation. But summer activities also present the opportunity for a child’s vision to be compromised. Protect your child’s vision throughout the summer season by following these important tips.
When your child is spending time outdoors (even on cloudy days), they should wear sunscreen and sunglasses. Exposure to sunlight increases the risk of eye damage from ultraviolet (UV) light. Unlike adult eyes, children’s eyes are still maturing and cannot filter out the harmful UV rays as effectively. The sunglasses you get for your child do not have to be expensive, but they do need to be effective. Look for lenses that will block 100 percent of both UVA and UVB rays. This will ensure that your child’s eyes are protected every time they are outdoors.
Wear protective eyewear during summer sports
Summer also tends to be a very active time for youth sports. Unfortunately, each year in the United States, about 42,000 children suffer from a sports-related eye injury — the leading cause of vision loss for kids in America. This is why it is important that kids wear protective eyewear during sports or recreational activities, whether on an organized team or casually playing with friends in the yard.
Limit digital screen time
When summer rolls around, it is so tempting for kids to spend their days glued to their favorite digital device. And while that’s fine for a limited amount of time during the day, excessive screen time can cause serious vision issues. Digital eye strain can occur after too much exposure to the digital screens of many different electronics, and can cause headaches, blurry vision, dry or watery eyes, sore or tired eyes and even neck and shoulder pain. That’s some good incentive to put the phone away and get outside and enjoy the nice weather!
Sunscreen by the pool offers important sun protection in the summer, but it can cause irritation if it gets into a child’s eyes. To avoid this, try to find a PABA free variety which can be much less irritating. When possible, check chlorine levels in your pool, as the chemical can cause red eyes. And while it is not usually dangerous, it can be uncomfortable. Swim goggles can be a great solution as they can reduce contact with the chemicals in the pool. For kids who wear contact lenses, make sure they do not wear them in the pool, as they can trap chemicals which can lead to infections.
Amazing summer memories can be made at the beach, but kids can have problems when playing in the sand. It can happen fast – one minute they are building a sand castle, then they wipe their face and sand gets in their eyes. If this happens, do not allow them to continue rubbing their eyes, as this can cause scratches on the cornea. The best solution is to try to rinse out the sand by pouring fresh, clean water over the eye. If fresh water is not available, encourage blinking or natural tears to flush things out. If there is no improvement in an hour or two, it’s wise to seek medical attention.
At Family Vision Development Center, your child’s healthy vision is very important to us. Be sure to see us for regular comprehensive vision exams or for any vision concerns. Contact our Aurora office at 630-862-2020 for information about our practice or to schedule an appointment.
Family Vision Development Center is a full-service vision center offering innovative vision therapy services, post-concussive vision rehabilitation, comprehensive vision exams for eyeglasses and contact lenses, management of ocular diseases including glaucoma, diabetes, macular degeneration and cataracts, and a state-of-the-art optical center offering the latest designs in eyewear.