Parents — Are You Protecting Your Child’s Eyesight?

Survey by The College of Optometrists finds 76% of parents do not protect their children’s eyes in the sun.

A new survey of 2000 British families shows that parents are risking their child’s eyesight by exposing them to bright sunlight without appropriate protection.  Over three-quarters of parents questioned admitted to not making sure their child wears sunglasses when out in the sun.

Overexposure to sunlight can damage the retina and lens of the eye, increasing the risk of developing cataracts, macular degeneration and other eye conditions later in life.  According to the World Health Organization, up to 80% of exposure to UV over a person’s lifetime occurs before the age of 18, so it is crucial that children wear sunglasses to minimize long-term damage.

The survey found that while 43% of parents ensure their child’s time in the sun is limited and 76% make sure they apply sunscreen to their child, buying sunglasses appears to be a much lower priority:  29% of those questioned do not even buy sunglasses for their children.  Of those who do, only 25% choose sunglasses from a reputable brand or supplier, and 46% of parents surveyed choose price over protection when selecting sunglasses.

Dr Susan Blakeney, optometric adviser at The College of Optometrists, stated: “I am shocked to see that so many parents aren’t ensuring that their child’s eyes are protected in the sun, and am equally astounded to see that of those who do, many are opting for ‘cheap and cheerful’ over quality.”

The College of Optometrists recommends purchasing good quality, dark sunglasses that guarantee a safe level of UV protection.

SOURCE:  Parents Risk their Children’s Eyesight in the Sun, The College of Optometrists, August 18, 2009,