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The eyes can also catch a sunburn ... Especially those of a child, who are particularly fragile. What are the main dangers and how to avoid them? The advice of Professor Danièle Denis, head of the department of pediatric ophthalmology at the North Hospital of Marseille, to help you better protect its pretty mirettes.
Children's eyes: more sensitive to the sun
- In children, the eye is in full development until 12 years. The lens, a kind of lens located behind the iris, does not properly filter the ultraviolet (UV). However, UV is dangerous for the eyes, especially for the retina.
- Before the age of 1 year, 90% are not filtered; between 1 and 2 years, 60% still reach the retina. And it is only from the age of 12 that the lens stops most of the UV. But it will be necessary to wait until the age of 20 to be filtered 100%.
What are the consequences of overexposure?
- The damage caused by repeated overexposure during childhood can not be seen right away. As for the skin, it is only in the long term that they manifest themselves ... or not.
- For the eyes, the possible risks are: the early onset of cataracts (partial or complete opacification of the lens, accompanied by a loss of vision) and an increased risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD), if the retina is too damaged.
Situations more at risk than others
- Depending on the place. In the mountains and at sea, the reverberation is maximum. Too long exposure without sunglasses can cause inflammation of the anterior part of the eye, called keratitis. The eye is red, tearful and painful. The mere wearing of quality glasses can avoid this complication. But even outside these situations of extreme sunlight, for every walk in town or in the country, consider putting your sunglasses on your child.
- Depending on the season. The UV is very intense in June, July and August. In summer, therefore: maximum vigilance.
- Depending on the time of day. It is between 11 am and 4 pm that the UV is the most perpendicular, and therefore the strongest. In summer, the ideal is not to expose the children at that time, whatever their age.
The sun hat, not enough!
- A wide-brimmed bob or a visor cap is good, but not enough. "The hats do not replace the sunglasses in any case, warns Professor Danièle Denis.The two are complementary ... and putting them must be non-negotiable."
- The secret to avoid conflicts: accustom as soon as possible to wear them, so the reflex will be acquired. Add to that a zest of common sense: as a myopic child will easily accept to wear his glasses if he sees much better, a child dazzled by the brightness will do what is necessary to avoid embarrassment. They know, too, what is good for them!
Eyes and sun: our file.