The Sun, UV Light and Kid's Eyes
With the brighter days forecasted this week, we hope our team of rockstars have got their Babiators at the ready!
We know that wearing your favourite pair of sunnies comes as second nature, yet for the kids, their attention is on more pressing matters; like mastering Spiderman’s awesome web-swing!
This means that you’re on watch duty to make sure that their eyes are protected even in the midst of all-important business. If you’re ready for the job, it’s time to understand why we should all be hot on sun-safety, especially when it comes to our littlest ones…
The Sun and UV light
It may have been a while since we took a physics exam, but everyone knows that the sun plays a vital part in our solar system. In fact, it’ so important that we all would cease to exist without it!
Aside from the science, the sun has its own, practical functions that contribute to our day to day lives. For example, it warms our seas, generates our weather patterns, and gives energy to the growing plants that provide us with food and oxygen.
At Babiators, we like to shine a light on one very important element of the sun - the light that it provides. As the sun radiates light to the earth, part of that light consists of something called ultraviolet (UV) rays. UV light is very similar to visible light except it has more energy, and therefore is unable to be picked up by human eyes.
UV light is then broken down further by something known as wavelength. Light at the longer UV wavelengths is called UVA light, while that at shorter wavelengths of is called UVB. Although, there are three ranges of UV wavelengths: UVC, UVB and UVA, we don’t need to worry about the most damaging form – UVC – as it’s absorbed by the earth’s atmosphere and doesn’t reach us, phew!
The arch nemesis – UV damage
At Babiators, we’re taking on our eye’s arch nemesis; UV light so, you don’t have to!
Yes, the term “arch nemesis” may be a little strong, especially as UV helps our bodies produce vitamin D, which is needed for our bones, muscles, and immune system. However, have you ever heard that you can have too much of a good thing? - Well, this is the case for those UV rays.
It’s good to know about UV radiation because of the long-term effects it can (potentially) have – yes, this is where we mention some of the serious stuff – but remember not to fear, this can be prevented!
OK so, after prolonged and unprotected exposure, UV rays can cause skin damage, eye damage, immune system suppression, and skin cancer. For our eyes, exposure to UVB rays is closely linked with cataracts, photokeratitis (a kind of sunburn of the cornea), pterygium (a white or creamy growth on the surface of the eye) and a form of eye cancer called squamous cell carcinoma of the conjunctiva.
Although studies find exposure to UVA rays can damage the retina (the light-sensitive membrane that covers the back of the eye), very little UVA reaches your retina because most is absorbed by other parts of the eye.
To add to the dangers of UV exposure, it is our youngest that are most susceptible to the negative effects. Research suggests that we receive nearly 80% of our lifetime exposure to UV rays before the age of 18. This is because compared with adults, young eyes don’t process UV rays as effectively which can result in potential problems later down the line.
Kid’s eyes have larger pupils and clearer lenses which allows more light into their eyes and, while this begins to develop over time, currently research shows that:
- From 0-1yrs only 10% of UV rays are filtered, which means that 90% of UV rays reach the retina.
- From 1- 12yrs only 40% of UV rays are filtered, 60% of UV rays still reach the retina.
And, because kids are typically outside for longer periods of time without eye protection and much more frequently than most adults, it is super important that they are protected with appropriate eyewear!
Protection is key
Now you know why it is essential to properly protect your children eyes from the sun’s UV rays, you can choose suitable sunglasses for them and ensure they wear them as often as possible!
All our Babiators feature 100% UVA/UVB protection to give your child maximum protection. Plus, together with our silicone strap, we know that even the most lively of explorers will avoid their sunglasses from slipping off.
Other things to consider
More is better when it comes to protecting your eyes from the sun, according to the eye experts. So, if you’re planning to be out in the sun, you can protect your eyes with a combination of quality sunglasses, sunshades, and a wide-brimmed hat.
While we are super big advocates for keeping safe in the sun, we understand you may have some more questions around how best to protect. For more information, we always recommend talking to your eye care professional, who’ll be able to provide ways to stay protected and enjoy the great outdoors even more.