We make sure our kids eat right, get enough sleep, and learn their ABCs. Yet while 65 percent of adults in the U.S. wear sunglasses, only 39 percent make sure their children’s delicate eyes are protected from the sun.
It is believed that our eyes get 80 percent of their total lifetime exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays by age 18. And since prolonged exposure to UV rays can cause significant eye damage to the cornea, retina, and lens — from temporary discomfort to long-term vision problems such as cataracts and cancer — it’s never too early for kids to begin wearing good-quality sunglasses.
Children’s eyes are more susceptible to UV radiation than adult eyes because the lenses inside young eyes are less capable of filtering these high-energy rays. Also, kids spend more time outdoors than most adults do, so sunglasses that block 100 percent of the sun’s rays are extra important for children.
How to choose sunglasses for your child:
The best places to find kids’ sunglasses are sunglass specialty stores, optical chain stores, or at your own optician. There are even pairs for infants as young as 6 months. Remember, the earlier you introduce your wee ones to sunglasses, the quicker they become accustomed to them, and then you’re on your way to setting up “sun-smarts” that will last a lifetime.