Monday 7 July 2014

5 key reasons why children should be wearing sunglasses

Recently I teamed up with Boots Opticians for the BritMums Live conference, I had a great time meeting lots of their team and especially Victoria O'Connor who is a super nice Optometrist. It really was a pleasure to help them attract other conference delegates to their stand so they could chat to them about why it is so important that we all wear sunglasses.

Personally I've always worn sunglasses as I seem to be sensitive to sunlight but I'm ashamed to say that I have not insisted my three children always wear glasses.  I am pedantic about them putting on high factor sun cream and wearing hats but I really had not clocked how important it also is for them to cover and protect their eyes too.

Let me share with you what I learnt, here are 5 key reasons why children should always be wearing sunglasses -

  1. Eyes are up to 10 times more sensitive to UV damage than skin. How frightening is that statistic? We are all aware of the need to use sun cream now but there has been little publicity about the need to cover our eyes. Thankfully Boots Opticians are looking to lead the way and educate people. (Source: Essilor)
  2. 40% of all UV exposure occurs when you are not in full sunlight. The mornings and evenings are often the worst time as the light bounces off reflective surfaces like roads and water.
  3. As children have larger pupils and clearer lenses up to 70% more light reaches their retina and they can be exposed to up to 80% of the eye's lifetime exposure of UV light by the time they are 18, making them more susceptible to the effects of the sun. It makes sense when you think about the amount of time they spend outdoors doesn't it? (source: Eyecare Trust)
  4. Until the teenage years your child's crystaline lens does not prevent UV light from damaging the retina, so that makes it our job to ensure they have the right protective sunglasses on. (source: Essilor)
  5. Francesca Marchetti, Optometrist and immediate-past Chair of National Eye Health Week says: “Protecting your eyes from UV rays is vital. According to the World Health Organisation UV damage is the most preventable factor of developing cataracts and around 10% of all skin cancers affect the eyes. Exposure to the sun's UV rays also increases your risk of age-related macular degeneration - the UK's leading cause of blindness. The risks associated with UV exposure are cumulative so it’s important to protect your eyes whenever the UV Index reaches three or more. UV damage can occur even when its cloudy so everyday UV protection could help minimise your chances of suffering future sight loss."
I could actually go on and on as there are so many reasons why it is important for children to start wear sunglasses from an early age but I'm pretty sure that just those five reasons are enough to make you think that eye protection for your children is a very good idea.

Not only do Boots Opticians want to educate people and raise awareness of these issues, they also want to provide the solution and without it having a high cost. As of June 2014 Boots Opticians are adding in UV protection to all their lenses as a standard and there will be no additional cost for this service. Their pricing has been streamlined and they now offer a simple set price on the side of the frames as you choose, one price for standard lens and one for varifocals, both including UV protection.  Of course you can upgrade if you wish and take some additional extras but that is your choice.

Victoria O'Connor said "We believe all round UV protection should be available to all customers at an affordable price on their local high street".  I think that about sums it up. Well done Boots Opticians!

Disclosure:  Boots Opticians sponsored me to attend BritMums Live and also gifted me a sight test and pair of sunglasses. The have not told me what to write and I remain honest.