It is strange that we, as parents, protect our children from anything that has the capacity to harm them and yet usually fail to recognise the harm that can be done by continually exposing their eye to harmful UV light and blue light. We dutifully ensure that their sensitive skin is covered with highly protective sun lotions on hot summers days, a cap or hat covering their heads and plenty of water drunk. But we forget about their sensitive eyes. The retina at the back of the eyes is made from the same epithelial cells as the skin and, as such, can be damaged in much the same way as happens when the skin is exposed to UV light. Long term exposure to UV light can trigger changes later in life that leads to macular degeneration. It is well documented that the longer we are living, the more UV-related eye problems are beginning to surface – with cataracts and Macular degeneration being prime candidates. We can give our children a good start in life by protecting their eyes and giving them the best vision that is possible

At Ashleigh Sight Care, we recommend that when children wear spectacles as part of their normal daily routine, the lenses should be able to adapt and change to protect the eye as the intensity of UV light changes. That does not just mean on a hot, bright, Summers day. Harmful UV rays easily penetrate cloudy skies and have the same capacity to damage young eyes.

Recent research* has confirmed that photochromic lenses can be successfully prescribed for children and adolescents aged 10 to 15 years. Clear and photochromic lenses were considered to be equivalent for indoor activities; however, photochromic lenses were significantly preferred over clear lenses for outdoor activities.

 * Carol Lakkis, BScOptom PhD., PGCertOcTher FAAO FVCO., Kate Weidemann, BOptom GradDipAcc: Evaluation of the performance of photochromic spectacle lenses in children and adolescents aged 10 to 15 years. Clin Exp Optom 2006; 89: 4: 246–252