The kids are almost out of school and summer is just around the corner. As children leave the classroom and head off to start their summer activities, it’s time to find ways to keep them active, healthy and safe. Now is a great opportunity to keep your patients informed on how to protect their children’s vision during the summer months.
Practices play a vital role in providing parents the knowledge they need to protect their child’s vision this summer. We have you covered to ensure that children protect their vision for as long as they can, and still enjoy the summer fun. Read our 5 quick and easy tips on how to protect children’s vision that you can share with your patients.
1. Wear Sunglasses
It’s summer! The sun is shining, and kids want to go out and enjoy the weather, which makes it the perfect opportunity to talk to patients about the harmful effects UV rays can have on kids. Protecting children’s vision with sunglasses is an easy trick to keep their eyes protected. Tell your patients to make it part of their routine just as they would apply sunblock. Make sure to remind parents that even infants and toddlers should be wearing sunglasses. Be aware of outside activities that may expose children to ultraviolet rays and be mindful of the fact that children’s sun lenses allow 70% more UV rays to reach the retina. This might put them at risk of developing severe eye diseases such as cataracts or macular degeneration when they are adults. Find a lens that has protection of more than 100% UVA and UVB radiation. Have fun with their glasses by selecting styles that fit their personality in a range of colors and patterns. Make sure they are always wearing them while out in the sun. Here are 4 tips you can offer your patients when they want to take their kids out during the summer:
QUICKS TIPS: 4 things to consider when buying children’s sun lenses during the summer:
- Let kids pick their own frames
- Plastic frames are best for children under 2 years of age
- For older children, make sure to get frames with spring hinges for extra durability
- Opt for impact-resistant lenses such as polycarbonate lenses, especially for children who are active or play sports. Polycarbonate lenses are made of tough and shatterproof thermoplastic used to make thin and light lenses.
2. Brimmed hat
Wearing a brimmed hat can help block sun from getting in their eyes. Sunglasses usually have gaps along the sides where UVR exposure occurs. Although it’s good practice to remind your patients of the importance of sunglasses, let them know of the extra precautions they should take to ensure full protection from the sun. While wearing sunglasses, patients can minimize their risk of sun exposure by including a hat with a brim at least 3 inches wide. Consistent use of hats and sunglasses significantly decreases UVR exposure. Wearing a hat that provides sufficient coverage also prevents the potential harm of Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) in your younger patients. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, BCC is a form of cancer that typically affects the eyelids. While it most commonly occurs on the lower eyelid, it can also develop in the corners of the eye or under the eyebrows. It is not known to spread to other parts of the body, however, it can certainly spread to the eye itself. To be on the safe side, it is best to take precaution and prevent any damage before it occurs.
3. Limit device usage
Children are constantly in front of devices and inflicting slow damage to their eyes. They use devices when playing on tablets, phones, watching TV, and using their computers. Children at any age are at risk of eyestrain and related vision problems if they spend too much time on handheld devices. A recent study by the American Optometric Association showed 4 out of 5 kids reported having experienced eye fatigue or blurry vision after using a device. Advise your patients to limit their children’s device usage to 20 minutes at a time. At your practice, teach parents to adopt the 20-20-20 habit. For ever 20 minutes their child spends on the their gadgets, have them look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds or more. Ensure to incorporate print and digital activities to help adjust the settings of their eyes. Here are 5 early detection signs your practice could provide parents in order to treat any possible vision problems for their children before it’s too late.
4. Caution with pools
Swimming is a favourite summertime activity for most kids and should be encouraged. However, pools contain a lot of chlorine that can irritate children’s eyes, cause redness and light-sensitivity. Advise your patients to invest in a good pair of goggles and for children who wear prescription glasses, offer them a variety of styles to enjoy at the pool. If redness and irritation persists after swimming, it could be a sign of a serious infection and parents should seek medical attention immediately.
5. Sales Opportunity
The weather is warming up and now is the perfect opportunity to spread the word. Ask your patients what plans they have for their children. As they explain, ask if they have considered UVA and UVB radiation protection sunglasses. This provides you the window to discuss the importance of having strong sunwear for their children and proceed to showcase your selection. Ensure that you are using multiple channels of communication to highlight your selection of sunglasses, sports eyewear and goggles for your younger patients. Remind them that your practice is a one-stop shop for their child’s eyecare needs. Run a promotion in your newsletter, social media channels and in-store signage to offer a reduced-price on sunglasses with regular eye exam. Or offer swimming goggles with the purchase of two sunglasses.
Ready-To-Share Infographics for Social Media
In order to keep your patients fully informed, here are some some common eye problems for children and ways to prevent them from occurring. Share these images on your social media to help educate your patients:
Get a head start by speaking to your patients now about early detection and scheduled regular check-ups for their children. Finally, have a fun summer!