It’s hard enough getting kids lathered up in sunscreen before heading out to the pool; getting them to wear sunglasses may seem next to impossible. But did you know that not only can the sun cause a sunburn on your skin, it can also cause the equivalent of a sunburn on your eyes? This is especially true when children (and adults) spend time outdoors on a reflective surface, ie. In the pool where the water reflects sunlight, on the tennis court or on the beach. In these environments, a hat that blocks sunlight from above does nothing to block sunlight reflecting from below. Eye protection is necessary.
Signs and symptoms of a sunburn on the eye, officially called photokeratitis, are red, irritated, watery eyes that are light-sensitive, with or without blurred vision. Symptoms typically begin within a few hours of exposure to the reflecting sun and can be very painful. If you or your child experience these symptoms, it’s best to see your eye doctor as soon as possible for treatment to prevent infection, to control inflammation and to promote healing. To prevent a painful end to what was a great day of family fun at the pool or beach, wear sunglasses with 100% UV protection. A mirror coating and polarization offer even greater protection. Swim goggles are another great way of protecting your eyes. Speedo makes a couple of great goggles for kids (Jr Vanquisher, Jr Hydrospex, and kids Skoogles) that provide UV protection. There are also many available options for prescription goggles that provide protection from the sun and improved vision.
So grab the sunscreen and the sunglasses when you head outdoors for some summer fun, and protect your eyes from UV damage now and from the long term effects of UV exposure that can lead to macular degeneration and cataracts down the road!
Call our office today to schedule an appointment to monitor the health of your eyes. Our doctors recommend annual eye examinations for adults and children. We have a great selection of sunglasses, including but not limited to Maui Jim, Costa del Mar, Ray-Ban, Oakley, Bolle, and Skeleton. SeaView Eyecare provides comprehensive eye care for adults and children convenient to the West Palm Beach, Wellington, Royal Palm Beach, Lantana, and Loxahatchee communities.