Anyone who lives in the Houston area knows the Summer sun is hot, but I didn’t fully realize how dangerous it could be to my children’s eyes. I recently sat in on a briefing with The Vision Council and learned all about the importance of eye protection – especially for kids – while spending time outdoors.
The Vision Council is a nonprofit trade organization and “the global voice for vision care products and services, [representing] the manufacturers and suppliers of the optical industry.” They work within the industry to perform research and provide training and networking events, while also working to educate the public on matters of eye safety.
During last week’s briefing, we got to hear from Dr. Dora Adamopoulos, an optometrist and member of the Better Vision Institute, the medical advisory arm to The Vision Council, as well as Jamie Shyer, a chairman to The Vision Council and COO of his family-owned fashion eyeglass frame supplier, Zyloware Eyewear.
They shared a number of important details with those of us on the call, including:
We saw an amazing infographic with details on the top 25 cities for high or extreme UV exposure. And guess what? Houston is #8! Is your city on the list?
During the briefing, Dr. Adamopoulous and Mr. Shyer also took our questions, and here are their responses to the two questions I asked:
Is any of the damage on children’s eyes reversible? And if kids start wearing sunglasses now, will that remedy any past damage?
Since UV exposure is cumulative, it’s never too early or too late to start protecting eyes. Some eye conditions like photokeratitis (sunburn of the eye) are temporary, while others like ptergyium (abnormal growth on the eye) can be reversed with surgery. However, these conditions often reoccur if UV protective eyewear is not worn in the future.
Do hats help decrease UV exposure to eyes?
Hats, especially wide brimmed ones, can help block UV radiation, but they should never be used in place of sunglasses. The sun is constantly moving so the direction of UV rays at noon is very different from the direction at 3 or 4 p.m. Baseball caps that only have front bills don’t offer eyes nearly enough protection as the sun starts to set. UV protective eyewear is the best way to make sure that eyes are shielded from UVA and UVB rays.
I’m the first to admit that consistently providing sun protection for my child’s eyes can be a challenge. Either I forget to bring sunglasses, we’ve lost them, or my son doesn’t want to keep them on. But it’s incredibly important to protect his young eyes and spare him any degeneration that can happen with frequent sun exposure. This information from The Vision Council has definitely inspired me to think more about and take more actions towards my child’s eye safety and protection.
Resources for more information: