Parents asked to consider sun’s UV rays this summer

Special to the Star News

Just as the sun’s rays can damage your skin with sunburn, premature aging and skin cancer, it can also be bad for your eyes.

Growing evidence suggests that long-term exposure to UV rays can lead to macular degeneration and cataracts, serious eye conditions that can cause vision impairment or loss.

Use your sun sense
You can enjoy the sun and still protect your eyes from damage if your take a few basic precautions:

•If at all possible, limit your time in the sun.

•Wear a wide-brimmed hat.

•Wear sunglasses that filter 99 percent of UVA, UVB and UVC rays.

Protect your children
Studies show that children receive up to 80 percent of their exposure to damaging UV rays by age 18. To keep them safe, follow the same precautions as you would for an adult, but be sure to choose sunglasses that fit their smaller faces, have impact-resistant lenses with quality frames, and have lenses large enough to shield the entire eye.

Fun activities to help improve kids’ vision
Summertime is almost here, and kids are champing at the bit to get outdoors (we hope) or at least get out of the classroom. If you have a child who is experiencing some vision problems, you’ll be happy to know there are some fun ways to strengthen the visual system.

Play catch — just catch. If your child is a baseball player, that’s great. But don’t feel pressured to play organized baseball on a team. Just 15 minutes of playing catch in the yard will provide far more opportunity for children to strengthen their depth perception skills compared to a baseball game where he or she may only get a few plays in the field and bat only three to four times.

Play tennis or badminton — keep it simple. The same principle in No. 1 holds true for tennis, badminton or any sport that involves hand-eye coordination. These sports are great because they include continuous action for each person. But if the child’s skill level isn’t developed enough to play an actual game, just see how many times you can hit the birdie or ball back and forth. Consider not using the net at all. Make it a challenge for the two of you together rather than a competition.

(Editor’s note: The above information was sent to the Star News from Bright Eyes Vision Clinic in Otsego.)