Eye Sunburn: Are Your Kids Protected for the Upcoming Summer?

Posted on: 28 August 2018

The warm days of summer will soon be here, and that brings strong heat and plenty of sun. As someone who has recently moved to Queensland, you are not yet used to the searing hot days this state provides. Now that you are a Queensland resident, it is important that your children are well protected from the damage of the sun's rays. Use these tips to learn more about eye sunburn and how you can prevent it.

Photokeratitis Hurts

Every Australian is urged to slip, slop and slap on the sunscreen, but that is not a product which can protect the eyes. When eyes have prolonged exposure to the sun's UV rays, they can suffer sunburn which is also called photokeratitis. Symptoms of eye sunburn include eye pain and excess tears production. A visit to the optometrist or doctor for medicated eyedrops is required to achieve photokeratitis relief.

Why Are Children a Higher Risk for Photokeratitis?

Children are more at risk of eye sunburn for several reasons:

  • they spend more time outdoors playing than adults
  • their bodies are still developing, and the thinner skin means they burn faster than adults
  • they don't automatically reach for a hat and/or sunglasses when they are headed outside

Because children have a higher risk of sunburned eyes, it is your job to protect them as best you can.

Protection Against Photokeratitis

Preventing eye sunburn involves the purchase of good quality sunglasses. To decide whether a pair of sunglasses offers the protection your child needs, look for pairs which offer strong UV protection. In Australia, sunglasses have a category rating from 0 to 4, and the higher the rating, the better the UV protection offered. Children's novelty sunglasses are often rated a 0 or 1, which means they offer minimal protection at best. While not as fun as novelty sunglasses, find a pair with a rating of 3 or 4 to best protect your kid's eyes. You may be able to find some with funky coloured frames in an effort to appease your child.

The purchase of a wide-brimmed hat also helps to shade your child's eyes from UV rays. Even a baseball-style cap is a worthwhile investment provided it is worn facing forward so the cap peak shades the eyes.

If you have any concerns about current damage to your child's eyes, make an appointment with your local optometrist to discuss the issue further. Sun damage can be permanent, so get your children ready for a summer of hats and sunglasses so that their eyes are protected during outdoor playtime.