And you've probably done it to your eye more than you realize!
Check out these charts to see how UV rays have affected you through your life, and how they are affecting your kids!
Read that one above again- 25% of our lifetime exposure to HARMFUL UV rays comes BEFORE we are 18! CHildren under 13 get 3 times for UV radiation than adults! This is why as parents we have to be uber crazy about making our kids wear sunglasses ALL the time when they are outside!
And you thought all your eye problems were because you were getting 'older'? Nope- all that UV damage is coming back to haunt your eye, literally! Scary isn't it, when you know the numbers?
In fact, most of us don't know myth from fiction!
For example- UV rays are ALWAYS present, even when it's cloudy. You need sunglasses even on the cloudiest of days. Admit it- when it's cloudy, you are less likely to wear them, aren't you? It's ok, only 27% of people do!
Do you know when the worst time to be out in the sun is? Bet you said between 2 and 4 pm, right?
Check out this chart to see if you are right:
Yup- 8-10 am is JUST as bad as that 2-4 pm. Yet how many of us, let our kids go out and play during that time of the morning, without extra sun protection??
If you're heading to the beach, or the lake, or amusement park, this Summer, I bet you just paused and rethought your plans, didn't you, when you saw those numbers above? I know I did! It also explains how I got more burned tubing in the morning, than at mid-day!
In Louisiana, and most of the South, we have at least 165 days per year of INTENSE UV days. Yet our population wears sunglasses only 45% of the time. Check out this map, to see how YOUR area measures up on those severe days! You can do the math and see where eye problems are going to happen!
So how do we protect our eyes the best?
You don't need fancy, expensive sunglasses (especially for kids, who have a tendency to break/loose them!), but there ARE things you need to look for when buying them for yourself and your kids:
- Anti-Reflective or Mirror Coated- if you are going to be on the water, you need to reduce as much glare as possible! Once you wear them you'll see the difference imemdiately!
-Impact Resistant- especially for kids, this is a must- if their lens shatter, they are less likely to want to wear them. Elastic or lens cords are also helpful to keep them on kids! Babybanz are great choices as the cord on them is soft and helps to keep the sunglasses on!
-Photochronmic or Polarized- the word you probably know, and one you don't right? These glasses adapt to different brightness levels and maximize visibility in low light or foggy conditions. Yellow, red and gray tints decrease distortion, whereas copper-tinted shades heighten contrast.Perfect for outdoor sports.
-Wraparound- you may not have thought about this, but the more your glasses wrap around, they protect your eyes from ALL angles. Very important if you are on the water or other high glare surface!
- Scratch resistant- again the longer your glasses give you a great view of the world, the more prone you are to wear them. Miss grace ADORES her Jibbitz sunglasses- and because they have charms on them, she can customize them, and wants to wear them all the time!
- UV Resistant- even clear coated lens are better than dark lens with NO UV protection-darker isn't always better! My Jack Purcell Converse sunglasses from REM are super UV resistant- nothing gets through them!
But the most important thing is very simple:
Lead by example!
If YOU as a parent/spouse always wear your sunglasses and involve your kids in picking out correct lens for their needs, they are more likely to wear them! If you need more help in picking out the right sunglasses, especially if you wear contacts/prescription glasses, be sure to check out all the help available on The Vision Council website- they will help you keep your family's eyes protected!
So while you're packing for that vacation trip, make sure your kids are already wearing, and getting used to wearing, their sunglasses! They may not thank you now, but when they're 40 years old!
So protect those eyes and stay cool!