Do Your Sunglasses Match Up? Keeping your eyes protected from those colorful, harmful rays.
Part 2 of 2 (part 1 is here!)
After several broken pairs of my sunglasses, my son received a pair of his own. He’s kept up with them fairly well and surprisingly hasn’t broken them…yet. I guess mine are better for breaking! He’s taken a liking to his Spiderman sunglasses and most of the time will take them with him when he plays outside. My son loves spending time outdoors. You can usually find him “mowing” the grass or driving his John Deer gator around the yard. He often takes his sunglasses with him, but what about those times when he’s not wearing them? After all, shades on kids are just for looks, right? Its not like he REALLY needs them on, or does he? Several studies show that sunglasses may be more imperative for infants and young children to wear than even adults! Here’s why.
Sunlight can be more harmful to children’s eyes than to adults. Dr. J. McDonnell, a medical director and professor of pediatric ophthalmology encourages children to wear sunglasses every time they plan on spending more than 20 minutes outside. Too much sunlight can be harmful to children’s eyes. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics claims children under the age of 10 are more sensitive to sunlight because the eyes are still developing.(2) They are at a greater risk for developing permanent eye damage. Cumulative exposure to harmful rays can cause premature aging, macular degeneration, cataracts and sunburn in the eyes. Some research indicates that by 18 years of age, the eyes have already received nearly half of the damage that they will accrue within a lifetime.2 Shorter wavelengths from the sun are able to penetrate a child’s retinas easier because their eyes are more transparent. The sun’s harmful rays cause cumulative effects within the eye. Creating healthy habits now can prevent serious damage later.
Children spend a lot of time outdoors. If your child is going to be out for a prolonged period of time, their eyes should be protected from harmful UV rays. Sunglasses can be beneficial in preventing cumulative damage to eyes. Here are some things to look for when shopping for kid’s sunglasses:
Block 99-100% UV radiation
Frames that wrap-around eyes to prevent light from entering on the sides
Lenses made from polycarbonate material (for durability and lighter weight)
Check comfort and fit
Free from scratches
When picking out the tent of sunglasses, make sure they aren’t too light or too dark. Medium colored lenses tend to be a good rule of thumb. A light tent may be uncomfortable for the eyes. Darker shades can allow the pupil to dilate causing more harmful rays to enter into the eye if the sunglasses are of poor quality. Typically sticking to a grey tent is best to protect your children’s eyes while keeping objects their natural color.
Protective eyewear with UV protection can prevent damage in the eye, but if sunglasses aren’t a big hit yet with your little one, try hats with a brim or a visor. Baby tents also provide shade. Children often like to do what they see you doing, so wear your sunglasses to block out harmful UV rays and they’ll be more apt to do the same!
1 (2013 May 30) Loyola Pediatric Ophthalmologist Says Balance is Key for Kids and Sunlight. Loyola University Health System. Retrieved from http://www.loyolamedicine.org/newswire/news/loyola-pediatric-ophthalmologist-says-balance-key-kids-and-sunlight
2 (1999 August 1) Ultraviolet Light: A Hazard to Children. American Academy of Pediatrics, volume 104. Retrieved from
DEFINE’s senior instructor and anatomy specialist, Lori Hudson Bertrand D.C., R.N. is a doctor in chiropractic and registered nurse. Her love for helping people through education about anatomy and physiology drives her to continue to share her experiences and knowledge with others as they pursue their journey towards health and restoration!