In our household, I’m always thinking about our next adventure. It certainly gives us something to look forward to. However, while exotic destinations and action-packed agendas are at the forefront of our minds when we pack our suitcases, it can be easy to get distracted and throw caution to the wind when it comes to general healthcare.
I always wear sunglasses to protect my eyes, but I must admit, Monkey doesn’t like them. So when he and I recently went for an eye test at our local Leightons, and I learned more about how much damage the sun can do from the optician, I’m going to be firmer in making sure he wears shades from now on.
With their vision still developing, children’s eyes are vulnerable to outside risks and infections, making it crucial that care is taken to protect them at all times. Here are the essentials for safeguarding your child’s vision on holiday so they can best enjoy their travels.
Blocking UV rays
The power of the sun should never be underestimated and unprotected eyes are just as susceptible to harm as unprotected skin. Sunburn is the usual tell-tale sign of a little careless fun in the sun and it serves as a good, if not painful, reminder to pack the suncream for next time. That being said, there aren’t always such warning signs for eye care.
UV rays will inflict serious harm on naked eyes which can lead to macular degeneration, corneal sunburn, and cataracts in later life. These dangerous conditions can all be avoided simply by remembering to pack some shades. If your child wears prescription glasses then it is even more important that they use prescription sunglasses to protect their vision. These will guarantee complete and tailored protection, something that a lot of cheap off-the-shelf shades are unable to do.
Preventing infection and irritation
Holiday destinations pose a risk to eyes both when on dry land and in the sea. Hot and dry environments contain plenty of dust and dirt particles that are easily kicked up into the air and circulated on the wind into bare eyes. These particles can block tear ducts, leading to bacterial infection and conjunctivitis. Swimming in the sea poses a similar threat. No matter how clear the water may appear, it will still contain a cocktail of bacteria and sand.
Good hygiene goes a long way with regards to safeguarding your child’s vision. Make sure that their eyelids are wiped gently and efficiently with clean damp cotton wool or disposable eyelid wipes, both after being exposed to seawater and before settling down to sleep at night. If possible, separate wipes should be used for each eye to avoid spreading bacteria from one to the other. Goggles are a good method of defence for eyes in the sea, while sunglasses should be used during the day to shield against particularly dusty environments.
Treating hay fever
Travelling during hay fever season can prove to be a nightmare for children, who are particularly susceptible to the condition. Often developing during childhood, hay fever symptoms appear much like a virus and can greatly affect the quality of life and vision of those who suffer with it. The discomfort caused can leave children frustrated and distressed, and they typically find the symptoms a lot harder to manage than adults.
As well as resulting in itchy and inflamed eyes, sneezing, and blocked sinuses, children are more vulnerable to the development of middle ear infection as a result of hay fever. Antihistamines and steroid nasal sprays can help to reduce swelling and inflammation to ease symptoms, although there is no true cure. If your child has more severe symptoms you should consult a specialist for advanced treatments such as eye drops and wraparound sunglasses.
Meanwhile, if your child has existing eye complications then it is highly recommended that you get them checked over before your holiday to ensure they are fully prepared. Always pack extra prescription medication and glasses for the journey as a precaution, along with details of these prescriptions should you need to obtain replacements at short notice. Experts such as the specialists at Leightons provide tailored treatments and advice for all aspects of paediatric eye care. If you have any concerns, pop into your local branch and they’d be happy to advise further.
* This post was in collaboration with Leightons