As a parent, protecting your child’s eyes and vision should be a top priority. Children’s eyes are especially vulnerable to UV damage from the sun. Getting into the habit of having your kids wear sunglasses early on can help safeguard their eye health now and in the future.
The Dangers UV Rays Pose to Children’s Eyes
The sun gives off ultraviolet (UV) radiation which can be very harmful to eyes if exposed unprotected over time. There are two types of UV rays:
- UVA rays – these penetrate deep into the eyes and can cause cataracts later in life. Cataracts cloud vision and require surgery to treat.
- UVB rays – these rays mostly affect the surface of the eye and are linked to conditions like photokeratitis. Photokeratitis is essentially a sunburn on the cornea, the outer layer protecting the eye. It causes eye pain, light sensitivity, tearing and blurred vision.
Research shows UV exposure contributes to growth of cataracts and raises lifetime risk of macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness. Children’s developing eyes are especially vulnerable. Their lenses are more transparent than adult lenses, allowing more UV to reach the retina in back. The effects of UV exposure accumulate over a lifetime, so protecting eyes early on gives big benefits.
Start Young: Infants & Toddlers Should Wear Sunglasses Too
You may think it’s silly to put sunglasses on a baby who doesn’t understand their purpose. But getting infants and toddlers used to wearing shades helps cement it as a lifelong habit. The earlier children start blocking UV, the better protected their eyes will be in the long run.
Look for flexible, durable frames sized for little faces. Band-style frames that wrap around the head are great for keeping active toddlers from pulling glasses off. Polycarbonate lenses offer maximum UV protection and shatter-resistance. For very young babies, look for glasses with elastic straps to keep them securely on.
As soon as your child can express an opinion, let them pick out fun frames they’re excited to wear. Kid-friendly designs and colors make it easier to get them to keep shades on when out and about.
The Right Sunglasses for School-Aged Kids
Once kids start preschool and elementary school, make sure they have good quality sunglasses to wear for recess, sports and other outdoor activities.
As kids get older, protect their eyes from UV damage during summer breaks full of playing outside. See if their eye doctor carries discounted kids sunglasses so you can stock up on spare pairs. Keep sunnies stashed in the car, your child’s backpack and anywhere else handy when needed.
At this age, start instilling the importance of wearing sun protection anytime they’re outdoors during daylight hours. Even on cloudy days, up to 80% of UV still penetrates.
Teach kids to put shades on before going outside – just like grabbing a hat and applying sunscreen. The experts at Olympic Eyewear recommend investing in good quality discount sunglasses for your children to wear year-round outdoors. Make wearing sunglasses a part of your family’s daily sun safety routine.
Choosing the Right Kids’ Sunglasses
When choosing sunglasses for kids, there are a few things to consider. For example, frames should be impact and shatter resistant. Flexible frames with rubberized coatings can withstand drops and bumps.
Lenses should block 100% UVA and UVB radiation. Polycarbonate and Trivex lenses provide distortion-free vision and durability. Polarized lenses also reduce sun glare. Larger lenses protect more of children’s eyes from peripheral UV exposure.
To conclude, make wearing sunglasses an ingrained habit, just like buckling seat belts or looking both ways before crossing. You’ll safeguard your children’s eye health now while protecting their vision for the future.
Choosing Comfort and Style in Kids’ Sunglasses
Comfort and style are key when selecting sunglasses for children. Look for frames that fit snugly but comfortably, avoiding any that pinch or press too tightly on their temples or nose. Lightweight materials are best, as they are less likely to bother kids during prolonged wear.
In terms of style, involve your child in the selection process. If they love the design, they’re more likely to wear them consistently. From bright colors to fun patterns, a wide range of kid-friendly options is available.
Educating Kids About Eye Health and Sun Safety
Education is a powerful tool in encouraging kids to wear sunglasses. Explain in simple terms how the sun can harm their eyes and why sunglasses are like sunscreen for their eyes. Use analogies or stories to make the concept relatable. Reinforce the idea that sunglasses are not just a fashion accessory but a crucial part of their health routine.
Setting a Good Example: Parents Wearing Sunglasses
Children often emulate their parents’ behaviors. Make a habit of wearing your sunglasses whenever you’re outside. This sets a positive example and reinforces the importance of protecting one’s eyes from the sun. When children see their parents consistently wearing sunglasses, they understand it’s an important and normal daily practice.
Integrating Sunglasses into Outdoor Activities
Make wearing sunglasses a part of every outdoor activity, whether it’s a beach day, a sports event, or a simple walk in the park. Encourage children to keep their sunglasses on during these activities and praise them for remembering to wear them. This positive reinforcement makes them feel good about their habit.
School Programs and Awareness
Advocate for or participate in school programs that educate children about the importance of UV protection. Schools can play a pivotal role in reinforcing what children learn at home about sun safety. Activities, posters, and discussions led by teachers can be very effective in instilling these habits.
Regular Eye Check-Ups and Discussions with Eye Specialists
Regular eye check-ups are crucial. During these visits, have the eye specialist talk to your child about the importance of wearing sunglasses. Hearing this advice from a professional can reinforce the message. Also, these check-ups ensure that your child’s eyes are healthy and can help catch any issues early.
Quality vs. Price: Investing in Durable Sunglasses
While it’s tempting to buy cheap sunglasses for kids, investing in a quality pair can be more cost-effective in the long run. Quality sunglasses tend to be more durable, offer better UV protection, and are more likely to stay intact through the rough and tumble of childhood.
Protecting your child’s eyes from UV rays is a vital aspect of their overall health. By choosing the right sunglasses, educating them about eye health, setting a good example, and integrating sunglasses into their daily routine, you can ensure that they enjoy good vision and eye health for years to come. Remember, the habits formed in childhood often last a lifetime, so starting early with proper eye protection is key.