Sunglasses: Preventing Cataracts
Most parents realize that excessive sun exposure can damage the skin. Sunburn increases the risk of future skin cancer. But many parents are unaware that excessive sun exposure can also damage the eyes. At any age, excessive ultraviolet light can lead to future cataracts or clouding of the lens. In the early years excessive sunlight can also damage the retina or back of the eye. Prevent eye damage from sunlight by encouraging your child to wear sunglasses.
- Sunglasses are a good idea at any age. Start your child soon after age one.
- Buy sunglasses that block 99% to 100% of UV rays. Examine the label carefully or ask the sales clerk to help you.
- The darkness of the lens has nothing to do with the ability to block out UV rays. UV protection comes from a chemical added to the lens while they are being made.
- Sunglasses with good UV blockage do not have to be expensive. They are available in most retail stores. Encourage your child to wear sunglasses whenever she will be outdoors for more than 20 minutes.
- The worst times are 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
- The worst environments are snow, water and high altitude.
- Your child's vision is too precious not to protect it. Set a good example by wearing your sunglasses on a regular basis.
If you have other questions about the health hazards of sunlight, consult your healthcare provider.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D. FAAP
Last Review: 6/1/2008
Last Revised: 6/1/2000
Copyright 1994-2008 Barton Schmitt, M.D. Parent Advice Messages.