Why do adults wear sunglasses yet do not encourage children too? They spend lots of time outside enjoying going to sports, pools or just ‘hanging’. Hopefully, you insist they wear sunscreen to protect their skin and a wide-brimmed hat, so why not protect their eye? 

Actually, according to Mayo Clinic Health System, children are exposed to more annual sun than adults. I can believe that.

With increased exposure comes an increased potential for eye damage.  Ultraviolet (UV) light — (invisible electromagnetic radiation emitted by the sun) can damage young eyes and surrounding skin. Adult eyes can actually fair better from UV rays but cumulative damage with age causes cataracts, age-related macula degeneration, and pterygium, a non-cancerous growth on an eyeball. In the short term, we are all familiar with snow blindness (photokeratitis), caused by the reflection of UV rays off sand water, ice, and snow. Yes, the name for sunburned eyes!

You understand why you should wear them by now, so why not encourage children to do so, the younger the better. Make it a game make it seem cool any tactic to protect those precious & venerable eyes.

Simply wearing sunglasses will protect eyes from everyday UV damages as harmful rays are present even on cloudy days. 

Think about the following as you purchase sunglasses for children.

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI ) has guidelines that define UV protection and impact protection. Go for a pair that blocks 99%–100% of both UVA (long-length) and UVB (short-length) rays. Buy a pair that protects from rays entering from the sides – wraps around.

Consider photochromic lenses, also called transition lenses, to eliminate the need for sunglasses for a child that already wears glasses. Photochromic lenses automatically change from clear lenses to darkened lenses in the presence of sunlight blocking 100% of the sun’s UV rays. 

Consider the activities of your child when buying, be sure they are impact-resistant (polycarbonate). Bendable but not breakable is good and don’t forget to look for scratch-proof lenses. Some sunglasses come with amber or green colored lenses to help with contrast, needed for certain sports.

Make the purchase of sunglasses the child’s idea, have them choose from pairs you have determined meet their needs. If they do not want to wear sunglasses, do some detective work, is it not fitting correctly, falls off easily, does nose bridge slide – you will figure it out.  As the ‘adult ‘ be the ‘keeper’ of the sunglasses when not in use, trust me the pair will be around longer. Then when you go out, as you put your sunglasses on be sure your child does, routine and in unison -how cool!