Once Upon a Summer, my pal since teen-hood, Lisa, vacationed with her husband and young daughter in San Diego. Having grown up in Northern California: Lisa knew all about the sun. But — turns out — she didn’t know Southern California rays. A wondrous, long day at the beach and little Sarah burned her eyeballs.
Later when Lisa shared, I was all, “burned eyeballs? Is that a thing?”
Turns out, it’s a thing.
Burned eyeballs – technically called photokeratitis – can wreak havoc on a person’s vision either now or in the years to come. (For more information on photokeratitis visit DiscoveryEye.org and for a celeb who burned his eyeballs Google handsome Anderson Cooper.)
Bottom line whether you’re having a blast in the Bahamas or skiing Tahoe in the spring, get to know the sun in the region you’re visiting.
Then get serious about eye protection:
- Talk to your eye doctor about the best sunglasses that will help your kids avoid long term damage. Sunglasses with 100% UVA and UVB protection; and HEV, near-UV or blue-light filtering will be the first and last thing discussed.
- Insist that your crew wear hats.
- Bring along — or rent — umbrellas for the beach or the pool.
- Do your best to keep the kids out of the sun during the brightest times of the day. I know you can’t always keep them out of the sun, but give it your best.
Hey, nobody said keeping kids in sunglasses would be a walk on the beach. Use these tips for the best success:
- Your daughter wears her glasses for ten minutes while building a sand castle? Compliment her — big time — by saying, “Well look at you, wearing your sunglasses. Nice work keeping your shades on!”
- Well before your trip, find photos of kids wearing fun shades. Clip those pictures and hang them on the kids’ bathroom mirror. The idea? Normalize wearing sunglasses. The unspoken message is, “Everyone wears these!”
- Notice when your kids get it right. Instead of saying, “How many times have I told you. . .” Say, “You have the most gorgeous eyes. We’ve got to protect those beauties.” Or, “The smartest wear sunglasses. Show them how it’s done, sweetheart!”
- Your kid wore sunglasses ten whole minutes? (You’re brilliant.)
What health issues have surprised you on trips? Please share and save the rest of us a doctor’s visit.