I’ll be honest, I have never given much thought to protecting my children’s eyes from UV light. We have bought sunglasses for them, because glare can be a bit uncomfortable on the beach or hiking, and they look cute. Last Saturday at the SA Mom Blogs meet-up, a highlight was the presentation by Tanya (an optometrist) and Zule (a photographer) from O-V Optics. These ladies are clearly passionate about their business. A genuine concern to protect children’s eyes adds real weight to their message. During the presentation, I realized that it is quite irresponsible not to protect my children’s eyes. According to the O-V Optics brochure, children spend roughly 3 x more time outdoors than adults. More worrying is that about 80% of UV exposure occurs before the age of 18. I should have been more aware because my husband Cliff has a condition called Pterygium which is associated with chronic UV exposure. Children’s eyes are more susceptible to UV damage and related problems which arise during adulthood. These have their roots in damage caused during childhood years.
Previously we bought kids sunglasses at toy stores. Not only are these not the greatest quality but “Tinted lenses or sunglasses with no UV filter cause the pupils to dilate even more in sunlight than if one were to wear no lenses at all – this allows even more light flood into the eye resulting in increased UV exposure.” During the presentation Zule demonstrated that Real Kids sunglasses frames are extremely flexible. They can bend and twist, being virtually unbreakable. Other than providing 100% UV protection, the polycarbonate lenses are shatterproof & impact resistant. This was a big selling point to me, we have a number of one-armed kids glasses floating around the house. On our most recent hike to Tswaing Crater a lens of Fjord’s sunglasses broke. I was overjoyed when O-V Optics gave us Mom bloggers each a pair of Real Kids Sunglasses. Now instead of replacing junk with more junk, he sports the Rolls Royce of kids sunglasses. In fact his are now better quality than mine.
Because Tanya and Zule want to make a real difference, they head the project “Sunglasses at School”. Through this they educate parents and schools about the importance of UV protective eye wear. Their vision (lame pun) is for schools to incorporate sunglasses into the school uniform. They currently only supply black frames because uniformity is important when incorporated into school uniform.
I am currently reading Know-it-All by A J Jacobs, last night between those pages I came across the Horace Mann quote “Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity”. I love that! I think that these ladies are doing their best to win a victory for humanity.