CHANNEL 7 NEWS Jan 2020 - silent UV epidemic for Kids

Silent Epidemic - Eye surgeons warn of effect of UV damage on young eyes  

Dr Shanel Sharma discusses Beamers sunglasses protection with Optoshield Technology

 

A large number of Aussie kids are suffering from eye damage due to the sun, with doctors saying UV rays can lead to health issues including cataracts and blindness.

However protection is simple. 

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Eye experts say the fierce Australian sun's rays are causing damage to children's eyes - even when it's overcast.

"It's absolutely a silent epidemic," ophthalmologist Dr Shanel Sharma told 7 News. 

One child, seven-year-old Avi, was playing outside and suffered sunburn to both of his eyes.

"He kept on complaining of his burning eyes, he kept squinting a lot," said Avi's mum, Fran.

According to Dr Sharma’s published research, one in three children under 12 had UV eye damage. This can lead to long-term diseases including cancer, cataracts, macular degeneration and blindness.

"In our study, 80 percent - four out of five children - have damage to their eyes by the time they reach 15," Dr Sharma said. 

As few ready-to-wear sunglasses provided full protection for kids' eyes, Dr Sharma's and Dr Zeldovich developed wraparound sunglasses called 'Beamers'.

"They protect you from the overhead light, the reflected light and that sneaky light that will hit at the back of the lens."

Eye experts are advising parents to make sure their children are wearing maximum protection sunglasses with Optoshield Technology outside every day - not fashion sunglasses. These provide maximum UV protection from every angle.

"I know that I should wear my sunglasses every time I'm in the sun," Avi said.

"He thinks they're so cool," Fran confirmed. "He thinks he should wear them in class."