Article by Dr. Jon Laudadio, IRIS Optometrist, with tips on choosing sunglasses for kids. This article originally appeared on VancouverMom.ca.
Most moms don’t think twice about applying sunscreen to their children to protect them from the sun, but are they as careful about protecting their eyes?
During the summer months children are often outside enjoying the warm weather and sunshine, whether it’s at the beach or in their backyard. It’s not enough to slip on a shirt, slap on a hat and slop on some sunscreen. UV rays can have the same harmful effects on a child’s eyes as on their skin. On average, a child’s exposure to sunlight is three times as much as that of an adult due to the amount of time they spend playing outdoors. By the age of 18, a child has absorbed 80 per cent of the maximum amount of UV radiation a person can safely absorb. It’s very important to make sure that they’re protected in their younger years.
Choosing Sunglasses for Kids
Here are some tips on choosing sunglasses for kids to be certain that your child’s eyes are protected.
- Choose a sunglass brand suited for children. Brands such as RKS – Real Kids Shades are made specifically for children and are available in fun styles and bright colours to ensure your child is both happy and protected.
- Make sure the sunglasses are the right fit. Properly fitting sunglasses can help provide comfortable vision protection on bright sunny days when the kids are outdoors.
- Not all sunglasses are created equal. Lower quality sunglasses may not protect your child’s eyes from the sun’s harmful UV rays and might actually be doing more harm than good. If the lenses are dark, they will cause your child’s pupils to dilate, which lets in more UV rays.
The Skinny on Sunglasses for Kids
When selecting the right pair of sunglasses for kids be sure to keep these requirements in mind:
- Ensure that the lenses offer 100% per cent UV protection. UV rays have a cumulative effect over time and can lead to serious eye diseases that can’t always be cured. This is why the best line of defense is prevention through quality sunglasses that block out these harmful rays.
- A proper fitting pair of sunglasses should feel comfortable for long periods of time. If they don’t, your kids won’t want to wear them. They should also not fall off too easily when the kids are being active. An eye care professional can conduct a proper fitting to adjust the side of the head or behind the ears to get the right fit.
- If your child wears prescription glasses they can also get prescription sunglasses. Another alternative is photochromic lenses, which will go from clear to dark in the presence of UV. It is important to know that photochromic lenses don’t have the same protection around the sides as proper fitting prescription sunglasses.
When considering sunglasses for kids talk to your optometrist to find the best solution for your children. Then your entire family can have fun in the sun this summer, knowing everyone’s vision is protected.