While we are all susceptible to eye damage caused by sun exposure, children are by far the most at-risk for harm and injury. Since kids spend so much time outdoors, typically without sunglasses, their eyes absorb ultraviolet radiation that can influence whether or not they develop serious eye conditions, like cataracts, in the future. Sunglasses are a great way to protect kids’ eyes from the damaging effects of the sun and can come with your child’s prescription so that they can see at the same time. Find out how sunglasses work and what kind you should get for your child to keep their eyes protected!
Our eyes let us see and experience the world around us, and they’re important for work, play and other activities. However, our eyes can be damaged by powerful UV rays that the sun emits on both sunny and cloudy days. Kids are especially vulnerable to the effects of UV exposure as they tend to be out in the sun three times more than adults. Children’s eyes aren’t fully developed during childhood, so when their eyes come into contact with excessive amounts of UV radiation, more radiation reaches their retinas than in adults since their ocular lenses aren’t mature enough to filter out these rays. The more radiation reaches a child’s retina, the more likely they will suffer vision loss during adulthood and even eye diseases, like cataracts and macular degeneration. UV rays can reflect off of nearly every surface, especially water and snow. Even concrete and sand reflect UV light (i.e. playgrounds) so eye protection is a must. Reflected UV light is just as damaging as direct UV rays, so even if your child wears a hat outside or plays in the shade, they’re not getting the protection they need. While these are good things to be doing, your child needs protective eyewear to filter out UV rays and keep their eyes healthy and functional for the rest of their lives. Even if they’re very young, your child needs to wear sunglasses outside to prevent disease and vision loss from occurring in the future.
Adults wear sunglasses all the time, and so should children. Sunglasses are an easy way to protect kids’ eyes from sun exposure and keep them safe while they’re playing outside. Sunglasses with wide or wrap-around lenses are effective at not only protecting children’s eyes but also the area around the eyes from UV ray exposure. While all eyes need the protection that sunglasses offer, kids with blue eyes are more likely to develop UV damage than those with brown eyes, so they especially need sunglasses when outside. Sunglasses for every type of eyes are available, whether you want glasses that can be worn while playing a sport or lounging at the beach. Children’s sunglasses should cover the entire eye and as much of the surrounding area as possible. Their lenses should have 100% UVA and UVB protection and block UV absorption up to 400 nanometers. If your child wears glasses, you can opt for photochromic lenses that darken when they come in contact with sunlight, that way your kid can still see while wearing protective eyewear. Since UV damage occurs over a lifetime, you should have your child wear sunglasses from an early age. This way, he/she has a better chance of avoiding eye damage from accruing as they age. Make sure to meet with your child’s optician to determine which sunglasses would work best for him/her and for more tips on protecting their vision.
Even though we, as adults, know that our kids should wear sunglasses, it is quite difficult to convince them that sunglasses are a good idea. It’s even harder to have little kids wear sunglasses when they seem to get in the way of their fun and play. If you’re having trouble convincing your kids to wear their sunglasses outside, consider some of the following tips:
While your child may disagree with wearing sunglasses, you, as the parent, know the importance of protecting their eyes from a young age. Following these tips will instill good, positive habits for eye protection and gives you an opportunity to teach your child the importance of taking care of their eyes. Take time to sit down with your child and explain what their sunglasses will do for them, how to take care of them and why it’s important that they wear them. If they understand the “why” behind sunglasses, they will be more inclined to use them. Eye health education and preventative practices should begin at an early age so that your little one doesn’t suffer from eye disease in the future.
At Peeper’s Optical, we offer a variety of sunglasses for kids that fit their needs and style. We can sit down with you and your child and explain how to care for their eyes so that they receive the proper protection that they need. Call our office at (303) 333-2800 to schedule a consultation for sunglasses and ensure that your family is protected!