Most of us can’t step outside the front door without donning our sunglasses, yet for some reason we expect our children to be able put up with the glare of sun. However, according to experts it’s crucial parents start thinking about their child’s eye health.
For some of us sunglasses are a fashion statement, others use them for practical reasons only. Many of us have even bought our kids sunglasses but usually find them languishing in the toy box or on the floor of the car instead of on their faces.
But according to the Australian Medical Association we must start making more of an effort. It recommends that children should always wear sunglasses when they are outdoors to protect their vulnerable eyes from ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.
Sunglasses Aren’t Just Fashion Statement
The association’s vice president Dr Tony Bartone said everyone should wear sunglasses when outdoors, even on overcast days.
“Your sunglasses should be more than a fashion statement – they should meet UV protection standards,” Dr Bartone says.
“If you’re wearing sunglasses, your children should be too. Sunglasses are not just for bright, sunny days. They should be worn whenever you are outside during the day.
“We have already seen very hot weather this summer, and we must take every precaution to reduce the risk of skin cancer by protecting ourselves from overexposure to UV radiation.”
Sun Safety Warning
Dr Bartone said each year more than 750,000 people are treated for one or more non-melanoma skin cancers in Australia. And Cancer Council of Australia figures show that about two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they reach 70.
“Skin cancers account for approximately 80 per cent of all newly diagnosed cancers in Australia, and it is estimated that between 95 and 99 per cent of skin cancers are caused by exposure to the sun,” he says.
Dr Bartone said that people should always wear a broad-brimmed hat and protective clothing that covers the neck, arms, and any exposed areas, and regularly reapply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant, 30+ sunscreen.
“Sunscreen is needed every day, not just on sunny days. You can get sunburnt on windy, cloudy, and cool days too,” Dr Bartone said.
“Avoid spending long periods in the sun, and seek shade during the hottest times of the day. You get sufficient vitamin D from regular, incidental exposure to the sun.
“There is no safe way to tan, whether from the sun or a solarium. Sun exposure that doesn’t result in burning can still cause damage to skin cells and increase your risk of developing skin cancer.”
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