Children's Eyes More Vulnerable To Sun Damage

Anderson Cooper, host of "Anderson Live," was temporarily blinded for 36 hours following a two-hour boat trip in Portugal where the sun damaged and burnt his cornea. Eye health concerns like cataracts, skin cancer of the eyelids and melanoma in the retina can all result from sun-damaged eyes.

The American Academy of Pediatrics says that children's eyes are at even greater risk for permanent damage from sunlight until they are at least 10 years old, because their eyes are highly sensitive and still developing. Furthermore, 90 percent of total lifetime damage from the sun's harmful rays occurs by age 18. Most parents (82 percent) encourage their children to use sunscreen when outdoors in the sunlight to protect the skin, but only 32 percent protect the vulnerable eyes of their infants, toddlers and children with sunglasses.

Real Kids Shades manufactures a line of protective infants' and children's sunglasses that provide the 100 percent UV-A and UV-B ray protection, as recommended by Prevent Blindness America. Real Kids Shades are safe, lead-free and made of impact-resistant, shatterproof polycarbonate frames and lenses, a material that is hailed by Prevent Blindness America as "the first choice for children's eyewear."

Dr. Deborah Sarnoff, senior vice president of The Skin Cancer Foundation was quoted as saying, "It is really important that everyone wear sunglasses that protect against both UV-A and U-VB rays. Even during the winter, you should protect your eyes from dangerous rays, particularly when they are reflected off of bright surfaces such as snow."

And sunglasses are not just for sunny summer days, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), they are also needed during the winter season when reflections from snow, water, sand or pavement can intensify UV rays to extremely high levels. In addition, the sun's rays pass right through haze and thin clouds, making sunglasses a necessity during the early afternoon when UV radiation is strongest, and a must when participating in winter sports, particularly at high altitudes.