Have you noticed how cute your child is in sunglasses? Like those “fashion statement” sunglasses with a cool superhero look or a teddy bear face? More importantly, sunglasses can save their skin and eyes by blocking the sun’s powerful ultraviolet rays (UVR).
Children under the age of 10 are at high risk of skin and eye damage caused by UVR. Eyelids and skin around the eyes are more fragile than adult skin. “Until about 10 years old, the lens of the child’s eye becomes clear, allowing for greater solar penetration, which increases the eye changes caused by UVR,” explains Adelaide A. Hebert, professor and vice president of dermatology at the University of Houston. “After that, the lens began to become more opaque and provide better protection.”
UVR exposure results in 90% skin cancer. In addition, retinal exposure to UVR is associated with cataract and macular degeneration, both of which are causes of visual impairment. Over time, UV damage will gradually increase, so the sooner you start to protect your child’s eyes from the sun, the risk of getting your eyes will be lower and lower.
Fortunately, good sunglasses protect the skin around the eyes and the eyes themselves. Although children under 6 months should not be exposed to the sun, they should wear sunglasses outside if they reach 6 months. If they need prescription glasses, they should also wear prescription sunglasses.
When buying children’s sunglasses, keep the following rules in mind:
1. Find glasses that block 99-100% of UVA and UVB rays. Purchase products that indicate the percentage of UVR protection they provide. The more skin that covers, the better, so looks for a large wrap-around style.
2. Use a playground-proof lens. The children ran at an alarming rate, stumbled, fell and bounced objects. Their sunglasses should work with this positive life to find anti-impact, scratch-resistant lenses that won’t pop out of the frame. Glass lenses should be avoided unless recommended by your doctor; plastics are safer. The frame should be bendable but unbreakable. Make sure the glasses fit and close to the face.
3 Let them choose. You don’t have to wear glasses or listen to someone else’s comments on them. Children – especially older children and adolescents – if they choose children, they are more likely to wear them.
4. Eyeglasses. Inspect the lens for scratches or warpage and no other defects with oblique vision. Very young children may not know if they complain about defects in the glasses, so you should check them before buying.
5. Double. Sunglasses only block light that passes directly through the lens. The skin around the eyes is still susceptible to light entering from the side or from the top, or upward from snow, sand, water, etc. Wearing a wide-brimmed hat is a good backup, blocking a lot of light from above, even from both sides, while also shielding the face and neck. At the most intense time of the sun, seek shelter from 10 am to 4 pm, providing another layer of protection.
6. “We need to educate our children about the importance of wearing sunglasses as early as possible – just as we teach them to brush their teeth and fasten their seatbelts, so they develop a good habit for life,” Dr. Herbert concluded.