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Protecting Kids’ Vision During Summer Months


Children’s eye safety tips from New York pediatric eye doctor, Jeffrey S. Leen, MD of Rockland Eye Physicians & Surgeons

ROCKLAND, N.Y. – August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month and pediatric ophthalmologist Jeffrey S. Leen, MD of Rockland Eye Physicians & Surgeons reminds us that shielding kids’ eyes from the harmful rays of the sun is just as important as protecting their skin. With children spending so much time outdoors, at the beach, in the pool, and in the yard this month, it’s a good time to focus on kids’ vision and children’s eye care.

According to Dr. Leen, who specializes in kids’ eye exams and strabismus surgery at Nyack Hospital in New York, sunglasses for kids that provide adequate protection can go a long way toward preserving vision in children. “Exposure to bright sunlight can damage the eye’s surface tissues, as well as the cornea and lens,” he explains. “Cumulative exposure can lead to cataractslater in life, as well as age-related macular degeneration and growths on the eye, including cancer.”

Children and teens typically spend more time in the sun than adults, so sunglasses are especially important for them. Because the lenses of their eyes are more transparent than those of adults, they are particularly susceptible to the damaging rays of the sun. Their transparent lenses let more short-wavelength light reach the retina.

Dr. Leen shares some tips to keep your children’s eyes safe during the summer:

  • Look for kids’ sunglasses that block 100 percent of both UVA and UVB rays. Sunglasses’ ability to block rays is not indicated by how dark the lenses are.
  • Let kids choose their own themed sunglasses to increase the likelihood that they’ll be worn. Large, wraparound styles provide more protection from the sun.
  • Look for impact-resistant, scratchproof lenses that will stand up to your children’s active lifestyles. Frames should be bendable, but unbreakable.
  • Sun damage can occur even on cloudy days — rays can pass through thin clouds and haze. It’s important to have children wear sunglasses even when it’s not sunny and remind them never to look directly at the sun, which can damage the retina.
  • Eye protection is especially important between 10am and 2pm, when the sun’s ultraviolet rays are strongest.
  • Wearing a hat with sunglasses increases protection against the sun’s rays. Broad-brimmed styles are best.
  • Children who wear prescription glasses should also wear prescription sunglasses.
  • Set a good example by wearing sunglasses yourself.

By getting your children used to regularly wearing sunglasses now, you will set them up for a lifetime of protection against damaging ultraviolet rays.

Rockland Eye Physicians & Surgeons provides comprehensive eye care and complete eye examinations for the whole family. With five specialized eye care providers, they serve the New York Metropolitan area and Westchester, Orange, and Rockland Counties. The ophthalmic services at Rockland Eye Physicians & Surgeons include adult and pediatric eye care, senior eye care, no-stitch cataract surgery, glaucoma screening and treatment, ReSTOR multifocal IOL, LASIK/refractive surgery, digital retina imaging, strabismus treatment, and other surgical procedures. Contact Rockland Eye Physicians & Surgeons at 845-553-7060 or by visitingrocklandeye.com.