Kid’s Need Sunglasses Too!

Sunglasses are cute on kids, and some kids love to wear them.  We, as parents, need to realize the importance of these “cute sunglasses,” and make sure that we keep a pair with us when on the run.  My kids have lots of pairs of these “cool sunglasses for kids” at the house, be these sunglasses never seem to be in the right place at the right time.  After reading the following post, I realize I had better start keeping my kids’ sunglasses in my purse so we will always have them with us while we are out and about.

Protect Your Children’s Eyes This Summer 

By VSP Optometrist, Dr. Michelle Calder

 With summer in full swing, there are many opportunities to get outside and enjoy the warm weather with your children. As you lather on sunscreen to protect them from the sun, remember that sunglasses are also needed to protect your young ones’ eyes from the harmful ultraviolet A (UVA) light and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. When choosing a pair of sunglasses for your child, there are a few important tips to remember.

Parents should have their children wear sunglasses as young as possible, especially during the brighter, summer months. Similar to our skin, the earlier one’s eyes are exposed to the sun’s damaging rays, the more damaging the effects will be later on in life, as UV damage is cumulative over time. Some examples of long-term consequences include the potential development of cataracts, aging of the retina and damage to the cornea. UVA and UVB rays can also cause macular degeneration and melanomas (cancerous growths both inside and around the eyes), which can cause blindness. Also, the sooner parents start putting sunglasses on their kids, the more likely they are to wear them. If a child still refuses to acclimate to sunglasses, then protect their eyes with hats.

It is also important to keep in mind that not all sunglasses offer adequate UVA and UVB protection.  While some sunglasses are clearly marked for UVA and UVB protection, others may be harder to find.  If in doubt, consult with your optometrist before purchasing.

Another tip to keep in mind when purchasing is to make sure the child’s glasses have a strap to keep the frame in place and to help prevent your child from losing them. It’s also important to provide your child with high-impact-resistant lenses, such as polycarbonate, and trivex materials to protect from flying objects and to minimize accidental damage if the glasses fall off. Speak with your optometrist to learn more about these materials so you can compare the two and see which material would best fit your child’s needs.

Finding the right sized frame for your child’s face is also a crucial component. The more coverage the frame gives their face, the more protection it will offer their eyes and skin. Be mindful of the tint you choose as well – amber and brown tints may offer more UV protection than grey tints, and solid tints typically offer more protection than gradient tints. Also, make sure the glasses have polarized lenses, which cut down on glare coming from horizontal surfaces, such as lakes, rivers, oceans and beaches. Ask your optometrist to demonstrate the effect of polarized lenses so you can see the benefits firsthand.

Lastly, I want to point out that although we think of sunglasses as a fun fashion accessory we typically wear during the hottest time of the year, it’s important to remember that UV rays are present at all times of the year, so sunglasses should be worn by your children year-round to provide long-lasting protection.

 Michelle Calder, OD, is a Michigan Board Certified Optometrist. She is president of Urban Optiques Vision Care in Northville, Michigan and can be reached at seebeseen@urbanoptiques.com

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