How Can You Protect Your Children’s Eyes from the Sun?

Because the lenses in their eyes are clearer, children’s eyes are more susceptible to UV exposure. Please take the following steps when taking your children outside:

  • Keep children younger than six months out of direct sunlight. Choose the shade, an umbrella, or a baby stroller when outside with a very young child or infant. Make sure the stroller has a shade for the sun.
  • Try to keep children out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. The sun’s rays are the strongest at these hours.
  • To help ensure your children wear their sunglasses, allow them to select a style they like. Many manufacturers make frames with cartoon characters or multi-colored frames.
  • Make sure your child wears a wide-brimmed hat or a baseball cap, which will provide some UV protection if he/she will not tolerate sunglasses.
  • Be sure to wear sunglasses or a hat outside yourself. Children often follow the example of their parents.
  • Remind children to wear their sunglasses or a hat even on cloudy days. Most of the sun’s rays can come through the clouds on an overcast day.
  • Teach your children to never look directly or stare at the sun.

Education of our children allows prevention of sun damage to their eyes. As parents, we can set a good example and follow the same guidelines by wearing UV protective sunglasses when outdoors.

Lutein Supplements

Several retinal degenerations including macular degeneration and Retinitis Pigmentosa have shown improvement with lutein supplements. Retinitis pigmentosa is a slow retinal degeneration that causes a slow loss of peripheral vision, with end-stage affecting the central vision as well. Most retinal specialists inform their RP patients that there is no treatment that can stop the progression of their disease. The only advise for these patients have been the in gestation of 15,000 I.U of vitamin A daily. There are several critics that point out that this form of treatment has an only minor delay in the progression of the disease.

Lutein is derived from the diet of dark green leafy vegetables, egg yolks, red or yellow vegetables, and fruits. Lutein can be metabolized into zeaxanthin, which is the essential carotenoid. The raising the intake of lutein in your diet can cause an increase in serum levels within a week and macular pigment density within a month. This is beneficial since the macula uses two major cartenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin. The zeaxanthin is concentrated in the macula and both cartenoids are deposited in the rod section of the retina. This area is the patient’s peripheral vision where RP first affects retinal function.

Lutein is believed to provide protection for the fovea, our central vision, by absorbing the harmful blue ultraviolet light. This absorption is nearly 40% reduction of blue light. The antioxidant properties of lutein help to prevent damage caused by light and oxygen. Several studies have concluded that intake of these cartenoids have lowered the chances of neovascular age-related macular degeneration. Numerous other studies have established the benefits of dark green, red and yellow vegetables and yellow fruits for the prevention of lung, colon, and other cancers. These studies have contributed their relevance in part to the amount of lutein in the dietary intake of these vegetables and fruits. The Food and Drug Administration has not established recommended daily allowances for carotenoids, but the average lutein intake among U.S. adults is 0.6 to 0.8 mg/day.

Several of the B vitamins are thought to aid in the slowing of retina destruction. Vitamin B1 deficiency is known to lead to severe damage to the central nervous system, vitamin B2 plays central roles in skin repair, vitamin B3 deficiency is the strongest contributor to Pellagra, vitamin B6 is necessary to enable immune response, and vitamin B12 is required for bone marrow production.

The bottom line is that lutein supplements for adults provide additional help in preventing the development of macular degeneration. Adults should look at their family history and recent eye examination results for the potential of macular degeneration. If there is family history, beginning drusens, pigmentary changes or age-related changes in the retina, and then supplemental lutein should be added to the diet of any adult over the age of 40 years. The results indicate that 2.5 lines of better vision have been noticed after two to four weeks of lutein supplements. It is definitely worth the potential to save your vision.