Should kids wear sunglasses? Of course, they are cute in sunglasses. But do they really need them?
How Your Eyesight Benefits From Daylight.
Do you know how natural outdoor light can help in the maturing vision of your young childen? What are the studies showing as outcomes of years being raised in the natural environment of where they are living?
Since kids eyesight is usually negelected, unless there is a problem, they are often overlooked in research as well. What is the point in researching something where there is not a problem? The warnings are few.
Now that it is your child we are talking about, and as more information is available, this may help. Give you some basic ideas about helping your kids. Some tips for protection and guideance with their developing eyesight.
Awareness of Safe Amounts Of Natural Light
Kids have often had more sun exposure and sun damage because we have not paid attention to the whole question. It is not a matter of being indifferent and not caring. We just didn’t know.
When your kids are young, their eyes aren’t fully developed. This plus the fact that we are sometimes unaware of how long we have been out. We just loose track of time. So the first thing that you need to do is become aware of how long your young child is in the sun, or out in natural lighting.
As there is so little history of young kids, actually babies without issues, healthy kids often are not as followed up on. What or when did they become suseptable to eye diseases?
Something that happened when they were 5 months old made an eye disease develop when they are 15?
How Much Natural Light Do They Need?
New evidence is suggesting that if children spend more time outside, exposed to daylight may reduce their risk of developing nearsightedness.
Research shows there has been ani ncrease in the percentage of Americans ages 12-54 who are suffering from myopia. The number has increased from 25 percent in early 1970 to 41.6 percent today.
Myopia is also known as nearsightedness or not being able to see things far away. The American Academy of Ophthalmology and the National Eye Institute predict half the world’s population will be “nearsighted” by the end of 2050.
Good vision for long distances was important for our ancestors long ago. They had to depend on their eyesight to hunt for food. To watch for the enemy.
Our ancesters also spent a majority of their waking hours in the sun.
Those without good long distance eyesight? They would have died off long ago and myopia would be a thing of the past, that is if it was strictly genetic.
Our young kids are developing myopia at an earlier age than ever before. What is different today, compared to several hundred years ago or even 45?
Could It Be Genetics? Or Lifestyles?
Genetics can usually be blamed for the rise in myopia. But what is even a bigger culprit? Could it be just not getting enough time outdoors in the natural light?
Computers, iPads, television, reading and studying consume a lot of our time. This gives us less time that our eyes (and our bodies) are spending outside.
It certainly does not help when schools cut back on our kids’ recess time.
Dr. Christopher Starr, who is an ophthalmologist, Weill Cornell Medical College, suggests one to three hours per day should be spent outside.
This is in addition to school recess time.
Dr. Starr explains that dopamine, which is a known inhibitor of eye growth whose release is stimulated by light, prevents elongation of the eye.
Lack of dopamine results in the eye becoming more elongated, resulting in nearsightedness.
Importance Of Lifestyle Changes On Myopia
Researchers suspect that bright outdoor light helps children’s whose eyes are developing. Their eyes maintain the correct distance between the lens and the retina, which keeps vision in focus.
Dim indoor lighting doesn’t seem to provide the same kind of feedback.
As a result, when children spend too many hours inside, their eyes fail to grow correctly. The distance between the lens and retina becomes too long, causing far-away objects to look blurry.
This is not an advocate for unlimited time outside in the natural light. However, an hour every day would be good, providing it isn’t during the more extreme sun exposure hours of 9 AM till 4 PM during the summer.
This is where you as a parent has to be aware of when the kids are out, and how long.
Changes From Schedule
This report from the Amaerican Academy of Ophthalmology suggests:
- Kids who played fewer sports outdoors showed more cases of myopia.
- Studying and reading seemed to result in more cases.
- When a child had two myopic parents, they were at the greatest risk of developing myopia themselves. The chances increased significantly if they did not play sports.
- Ifthe kids had no myopic parents, but also spent a lot of time outside had the lowest risk of all youth!
- When allowed 80 minutes of recess during the school day, fewer children became nearsighted. This was when compared to children who were not required to spend recess outdoors. Many parents are already concerned about the lack of recess time during the school day.
- Finally, one study showed that for each additional hour children spend outdoors per week, their risk of being nearsighted dropped by 2 percent.
It Is A Balancing Act
Youngsters don’t have to play outdoor sports to get some healthy exposure to the natural light.
Nor should they stare at the sun to get the beneficat daylight. Just general exposure with outdoor time, wearing the UV blocking sunglasses.
Studying and reading does not lead to nearsightedness, being indoor does. Could your kids use an outdoor study hour?
Just to remind you, your baby does need sunlight to help his eyes to mature to give him strong healthy sight. Direct sun is never recommended for babies younger than 12 months. They should always be in the shade.
At 12 months you can use sunscreen to protect their skin and it is safer for short times in the sun. However, for you childrens safety a shady area is preferred to direct sun. This is true for any age.
Outdoors Natural Light, Not Direct Sun Overhead
When we are in the sun without skin and eye protection, we can be damaging our eyes.
Over exposure to UV rays without protective eyewear increases your risks for eye diseases. Eye diseases like cataracts, and growths on the eye or cancer.
These diseases take many years to develop.
For this reason, babies and kids should wear hats and sunglasses as much as possible. Develop the habit while they are young.
Sun damage can happen anytime of the year, even on a wintery cloudy day. Sun reflecting off the snow can also cause painful damage. This is true for adults as well as kids, and all need to protect their eyes.
To protect your kids, make sure you’re mindful of their time spent outside. Ask them about their eyes every time you stop to lather them up with sunscreen.
Sunglasses, wide-brimmed hats, and breaks in the shade are all great ways to help offer eye protection from the sun. Good habits to develop while your child is young.
If you notice a lot of blinking, rubbing, squinting, tugging, or redness, your child may be experiencing eye sunburn. (Known as Snow Blindndess)
Make sure they spend some time away from the sun and their eyes remain covered to help reduce soreness. Cold compresses are one way to help relieve pain.
Sami’s Take On Do Kids Need Sunglasses?
In the light of research, kids do need sunglasses. They are in the sun and direct sunlight isn’t safe for them. When I remember all the time my expsure to the sun was ignored, I am surprised I can see at all.
To have my kids and grandkids to get older with better eyesight would be a very good thing.
As age and experience is all I have to evaluate this information about our eyes with, here is my ideas about how important protecting our kids eyesight is:
When I remember how my grandparents aged, and the vision issues they had. Then add my parents experiences that I am aware of, my genetics were good for vision thorugh out life.
However, Bible reading was the main reading for my grandparents. TV and newspapers as well as the Bible for my parents. They wore glasses to help them read.
Now all the long hours in front of computers and TV with a love of reading, I feel I would have had better eyesight now if the catarac was not there.
With better care for my eyes, I might could have skipped the retinea surgeries I have had. Old sun damaged eyes are not as strong as those that have escaped the sun damage.
As we became aware of the dangers of the sun, we started taking better care of ourselves.
Will you add this information to your knowledge and come up with a plan to help your kids have less sun damage as adults?
The information in this report is not intended to replace your Doctors advice. It is simply to make you aware that there are some things you can do to protect your family’s eyes.