I know that it’s vital to protect adults’ eyes from the sun’s rays, but is it
important even for young children to wear sunglasses? One doesn’t see many young
children using them. My kids, ages four and five-and-a-half, didn’t like to wear
them when I bought a pair for each of them.
They tried once when outdoors
in their kindergarten classes, but none of the other children had any, and they
said they felt “silly.” If it is important, should I insist? – C.N., Tel Aviv
Dr. Yosef Pikel, head of the ophthalmology department at Ziv Medical Center in
Safed, replies: The harm caused to the eyes from a young age is not well known
in the population, so few parents make sure their children wear sunglasses that
filter out the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. The subject definitely does not get
Long exposure to the powerful rays increases the
prevalence of the disease that causes degeneration of the retina and causes
blindness in adults.
The damage of UV radiation is
Thus the younger they are, the better that they get used to
sunglasses, and as they grow older they will be used to wearing them, especially
in the summer, when the sun is most intense. Awareness of the risks is slowly
growing, so just as we supply children with broad-brimmed hats and apply
sunscreen when they’re outdoors, especially in the summer, we should give them
sunglasses. This should become a habit when going out in the sun.
that many youngsters complain about discomfort, but try to give them positive
feedback about using them.
Despite their tendency to lose things,
including sunglasses, you should not give up. Letting the kids pick out the
sunglasses themselves so the pair is a comfortable fit and attractive makes it
easier to get them to use them. Just make sure that they are really protective
against UV and have a sticker [from an authoritative source confirming this].
Purchase them from a reliable shop such as an optometrist or
They do not have to be expensive to be effective. Encouraging
them to take care of and wear sunglasses teaches them
Children with light-colored eyes are most exposed to UV
damage. Blue and other light-colored eyes transfer more sunlight into the eye,
so fair children must be especially careful in the summer to protect their
My husband recently went to a drugstore in Texas and got a shot
against shingles (herpes zoster). If Varivax vaccine for chicken pox (for
children) is available here in Israel, why isn’t Zostavax, the vaccine for
shingles recommended for use in people who are 60 years old? I am currently in
the US on a visit and wonder if I should get the vaccination here. – S.S., Beit
Shemesh I was wondering if the shingles vaccination is available and is covered
by Kupat Holim Meuhedet.
If one contracted shingles in mid-life, is it
recommended to be vaccinated decades later? – J.F., Michmoret Howard Rice, a
veteran pharmacist, replies: In Israel, about three out of 100,000 people get
shingles (herpes zoster), but this number grows in the over-70 age group to 10
in 1,000. Shingles can spread after being in contact with chicken pox
(varicella) or someone who has had recently received the vaccine.
As it can be
very painful, it would seem wise for the vaccine for shingles (Zostavax) to be
available here, since there is a threat that massive vaccination of children
against chicken pox could threaten spreading of herpes zoster – and this is the
case in Israel.
Having said this, Health Ministry professionals will not
introduce this or any other pharmaceutical onto the market here until it has
checked thoroughly all the aspects of the medication’s use. This is their
responsibility, and they justifiably will not rubber-stamp everything that comes
in from abroad, even from the US.
Many medications are restricted abroad
and permitted here – and vice versa. I am sure that as soon as the necessary
tests and information have been examined, verified and approved, the vaccine
will appear in the pharmacies.
The ministry has not yet authorized the
distribution of Zostavax, and thus it not available through Meuhedet or other
health funds. My advice is, if you require it, buy it in the US. The vaccine
will help prevent a recurrence of the disease and therefore is recommended for
people over 70.
Rx for Readers welcomes queries from readers about
medical problems. Experts will answer those we find most interesting. Write Rx
for Readers, The Jerusalem Post, POB 81, Jerusalem 91000, fax your question to
Judy Siegel-Itzkovich at (02) 538-9527, or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org, giving
your initials, age and place of residence.