Children spend a lot of time outdoors, and their eyes are more vulnerable to the sun’s harmful UV rays than adults’ eyes. UV rays can cause long-term eye problems like cataracts and macular degeneration, and short-term problems like photokeratitis, also known as “snow blindness.”
Sunglasses can help protect children’s eyes from UV rays. When choosing sunglasses for children, it is important to look for ones that block 100% of UV rays. Sunglasses with polarized lenses can also help reduce glare, which can make it easier for children to see in bright sunlight.
It is important to start wearing sunglasses early in life. The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) recommends that children as young as 6 months old wear sunglasses.
Even on cloudy days, UV rays can still damage eyes. So, it is important to have children wear sunglasses every day, regardless of the weather.
Children spends a lot of time outdoors
Children are often exposed to significant amounts of ultraviolet (UV) radiation. This is because they spend more time outdoors than adults, and their skin is more susceptible to damage from UV rays.
UV radiation can cause a number of health problems, including cataracts, macular degeneration, and skin cancer. It can also contribute to premature aging of the skin.
When choosing sunglasses for your children, it is important to consider the following:
- UV protection: Sunglasses should block 99%–100% of both UVA and UVB rays. Look for large wraparound-style sunglasses that cover a lot of skin. If your children need to wear corrective lenses, you may want to consider photochromic lenses, which automatically change from clear lenses to darkened lenses in the presence of sunlight.
- Durability: Active children need sunglasses made of impact-resistant polycarbonate with scratch-proof lenses. Frames should be bendable but unbreakable. Make sure the fit is snug.
- Activities: Some sunglasses come with amber or green lenses that can increase contrast, which may be useful for sports.
- Child’s choice: Kids are more likely to wear sunglasses if they’ve been allowed to pick them out. Let them choose among a few pairs of sunglasses.
- Parent’s responsibility: To prevent the sunglasses from being lost, broken, or forgotten, parents may want to consider keeping their children’s sunglasses in a safe place when they are not being worn.
- Communication: If your children resist wearing glasses or sunglasses, observing their behavior or talking to them further might give you a clue to the barriers, such as poor fit or discomfort while wearing them.
- Parental example: Your eye health is important. Set a good example for your children by wearing your sunglasses consistently, and make wearing them part of your children’s routine.
Other Protection Is There For Children
- Wear a hat. A hat with a wide brim can help protect children’s eyes, ears, face, and neck from the sun’s harmful UV rays.
- Apply sunscreen. Sunscreen should be applied to all exposed skin, including the face, ears, neck, lips, and hands. It is important to choose a sunscreen that is labeled as “broad spectrum” and has an SPF of 30 or higher.
- Limit their time in the midday sun. The sun’s UV rays are strongest during the midday hours, so it is best to avoid being outdoors during this time. If you must be outdoors during the midday hours, be sure to stay in the shade as much as possible.
- Seek shade whenever possible. When you are outdoors, look for shady spots to rest and cool off. This could include under a tree, in a park, or even under an awning.
- Avoid sunlamps and tanning beds. Sunlamps and tanning beds emit UV rays that can damage the skin and contribute to skin cancer. It is important to avoid using these devices.
Children’s eyes are more susceptible to damage from ultraviolet radiation
The crystalline lenses of children’s eyes are more transparent than those of adults, allowing more UV radiation to reach the retina. The retina is the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye, and it is susceptible to damage from UV radiation.
In fact, children’s eyes transmit 75% of UV radiation to the retina, compared to only 10% for adults. This means that children are at a higher risk of developing eye problems such as cataracts, macular degeneration, and pterygium (a growth on the white of the eye) if they are not protected from UV radiation.
The best way to protect children’s eyes from UV radiation is to have them wear sunglasses that block 100% of UV rays. Sunglasses should also fit snugly and be made of shatter-resistant materials.