There’s no doubt about it. Kids look cool in sunglasses, but there are many other reasons to put a nifty pair of shades on your child.
A child’s skin around their eyes, including their eyelids, is very sensitive and delicate. The risks for one under 10 is even higher. Their eye lens is perfectly clear, increasing the risk of sunlight entering the eye.
The Risks of Ultraviolet Rays
Exposure to ultraviolet rays, or UVR, comes with more than a chance for sunburn. Most skin cancer cases are caused by them. When the rays enter the eye, UVR damage can trigger cumulative damage that can ultimately lead to cataracts and macular degeneration.
A rule of thumb is to not let any child under six months old be in direct exposure to the sun. Those six months and older should have sunglasses. If they wear eyeglasses, then also get them a prescription for sunglasses as well.
Otherwise, exposure to UVR can lead to unwanted ocular changes. Even when the lens in the eye becomes more opaque as a child gets older, sufficient protection is needed to avoid damage.
How to Pick the Right Sunglasses
When purchasing sunglasses for your child, keep the following tips in mind. First, you want both UVA and UVB protection; the lenses should block at least 99 percent of the rays from the sun, and be polarized, as indicated on the label. Wraparound styles are best and shield the skin as well.
As important a decision as this is, allow your child to pick the pair of shades. A kid a few years old is more likely to wear them on a regular basis if they feel it’s a decision they made.
Still, be diligent when making a selection. The lenses must be clear, free of scratches and warping. Imperfections can distort vision and a child is most likely not familiar with sunglass flaws, and probably won’t complain about or even notice it.
Best Sunglasses Features for Children
Unbreakable glasses are best because they are less likely to break if your kid plays, trips, or falls. Impact-resistant and scratch-proof lenses can ensure the product lasts longer, and the product should be designed so that these don’t pop out. Plastic lenses and bendable frames are better as well.
The frames should be selected so that they fit comfortably under a hat. Doubling up on protection limits the amount of sunlight that can come through the sides of the frames, the top, or that which is reflected. Light and UV rays don’t only come from directly in line with the sun, but also from the water and sand that reflect them.
Never underestimate the quality of the lenses, though. Polarized lenses not only protect the eyes but also eliminate the glare that can otherwise be caused by sunglasses.
By protecting their eyes, your children can enjoy the benefits of sunlight and the long days of summer. Sunlight boosts serotonin, a mood-enhancing hormone, in the brain. The right amount of sun exposure can have mental and physical health benefits, so ensure your child enjoys the outdoors while staying protected.