As you know, Boots Opticians sponsored me to go to BritMums Live.
As part of the deal, I attended a briefing meeting when I arrived in London. I thought it would be a bit of free breakfast and some chatting, no big deal. What actually happened is that I left thinking “must buy S some proper sunglasses!”
I don’t know about you, but as a parent I’m slightly obsessed with making sure S is wearing a sun hat and sun cream before we go anywhere. Nursery are the same, and have a large stock of spare hats and sun cream. All of the children are slathered in sun cream before they go outside to play, and they all know they have to wear a hat if they want to play outside.
I did buy S some sunglasses, but they’re more of an optional accessory – and she usually opts to snap them. We’re on our third pair this Summer! Plus, they were a cheap pair from a kidswear shop. While we were talking to the ladies from Boots Opticians, they mentioned that the best thing to look for was a sticker on the glasses saying they offered “100% protection.” Did S’s glasses have that sticker? I remember pulling a sticker off the lenses before she put them on, but I’ve no idea what it said…
What I realised by attending the Boots Opticians session was that it’s just as important to protect your eyes from the sun, as your skin. In fact, we’re always being told our skin needs a little sunlight in order to maintain vitamin D levels; not so with our eyes. There is no advantage to having our eyes exposed to UV light, and around three million people go blind from conditions linked to prolonged UV light exposure every year.
UV light damaging your eyes is one of those things we don’t know about, but the minute it’s mentioned you say “oh yeah, of course!”
Another thing it’s really important to bear in mind is that the darkness of the glasses does not equate to how well they protect your eyes. In fact, you can now get clear contact lenses that offer UV protection. This is why cheap kids’ sunglasses (and adult ones for that matter) can be a bad thing; we think we’re protecting our eyes, but really all we’re doing is keeping out the brightness. The UV rays still get in, and still cause damage.
According to the World Health Organisation, UV damage is the most preventable factor of developing cataracts, and around 10% of all skin cancers affect the eyes. UV exposure also increases the risk of age-related macular degeneration, which is the  UK’s leading cause of blindness.
Learning all of this meant that the day after BritMums Live, I took S to Boots, shopping for some proper sunglasses. We spent a good  twenty minutes or so, trying on all the different sunglasses; her head is quite small though so in the end the choice was quite limited. What we ended up with was this:
Now we have the winning combination of sunglasses and sun hat to stop those pesky UV rays from getting into my little pumpkin’s eyes (yes, I really do call her that).
Thank you, Boots Opticians, for showing me the light, and then putting some UV filters over it!
If you’re ever in doubt about how well your little ones’ eyes are protected, don’t hesitate to check in with an optician. They’ll be able to identify any progressive lens problems or any other issues your child may be having and will be able to offer advice. This is also an important visit for kids who may need prescription lenses in their sunglasses!
Categories: Me

Vicky Charles

Vicky is a single mother, writer and card reader.

7 Comments · 09/07/2014 at 09:25

Okay, that's some scary stats there! As someone who has been wearing glasses since the age of six and is now type 2 diabetic (and therefore more at risk of eye problems than most), I've avoided the expense of prescription sunglasses for a long time. I really must do something about it as I'm due for new glasses now. Thanks for the prompt!

OverHonestMumma · 10/07/2014 at 02:38

Thanks for all that useful info, living in Australia we are so acutely aware of the suns power and uv protection is a must, but as a mum I always forget about me! A nice reminder x<br /><br />#MMWBH

pixiedusk · 10/07/2014 at 13:02

I always look for category 3 sunglasses for my sun. I know how damaging the rays are and we really need to do what we can to fight this fr damaging our children&#39;s eyes =) #mmwbh

My Family Ties · 10/07/2014 at 19:03

It is so true we can get very blasé about sunglasses, opting for the cheaper or just the darker ones my daughter wears glasses and this year has a pair of prescription sunglasses and now I feel a lot safer in the knowledge that she is properly protected. #MMWBH

Laura Huggins · 12/07/2014 at 10:04

I am ashamed to say that I have never bought Cameron a pair of sunglasses. I must go and get him some, especially after reading this! <br /><br />Thank you for sharing!<br /><br />Laura x x x

Laura Mummy to Boyz · 15/07/2014 at 18:44

My boy has a squint and the stat about 1-5 primary aged kids is very scary!

Super Busy Mum · 21/07/2014 at 20:27

What a fab post and I am loving the wee woman&#39;s protected eyes in that photo. She is ROCKING those sunglasses. Thanks so much for linking up with #MMWBH! Sorry its taken me this long to comment! x

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