While we all know the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation on our skin, we often forget that UV rays are equally harmful for our eyes and when it comes to children we tend to overlook the dangers of UV rays when they are out in the sun.
According to the American Optometric Association’s (AOA) 2014, ‘exposure to UV rays can cause problems for people of all ages, but it is critical for children to protect their eyes since they are more transparent than an adult’s. By learning to protect their eyes early, they can possibly avoid UV damage.’ Children are more exposed to the harmful rays of the sun than adults as they spend more time outdoors than adults and their ocular lenses do not filter UV light like that of an adult causing damage to the retina. But choosing the right sunglasses for your children can help protect their eyesight.
Research has found that extreme exposure to sunlight, especially when it is reflected off horizontal surfaces like the open road or the ocean can result in corneal sunburn. Constant UV exposure may also contribute to persistent eye disorders, and has also been linked to perpetually blurred vision.
Eye specialists say that ultraviolet radiation increases the risk of multiple age-related eye problems, including cataracts and macular degeneration. The risk is highest between 8am to 10am, and from 2pm to 4pm, because during those times, UV rays come from different angles and eyes receive nearly double the amount of UV than during midday hours. But the right sunglasses can help, as parents become more aware that protection from the sun is essential. According to most eye doctors and researchers, not just children but infants too need to wear sunglasses. So it’s time to invest in quality children’s sunglasses. You don’t have to spend a lot to get high-quality sunglasses for your kids. Here are few important tips while you buy one.
See the percentage block
Children’s sunglasses should block 99 to 100 per cent of both types of ultraviolet rays: UVA and UVB.
Be wary of children’s sunglasses with labels that say the lenses, “block UV rays,” but don’t specify the actual percentage of UV radiation the lenses absorb. Encourage your children to wear their sunglasses even on overcast days to protect their eyes.
Dark is not always the right one
One must know that UV protection percentage of any lens is not related to the colour of the lens. In short, darker lens does not always necessarily mean they provide better UV protection. Sometimes children are not comfortable wearing glasses that are actually too dark.
See the additional features
Apart from having 100 per cent block from the sun’s UVA and UVB rays the other important feature that one should look for are impact-resistant lenses that are made of polycarbonate. They are lighter and hence quite comfortable for children to wear.
Check for the fitting
One should choose frames that fit well to protect from dust or any rays reaching the eyes. Check the hinges well as the glasses should not be falling off. Wide-brimmed sunglasses are apt for children as it covers their eyes fully well. While the arms of the frame should rest gently on the top of the ears and then loop down behind the ear, the bridge of the frame needs to sit comfortably on the bridge of the nose.
Don’t go for cheaper version
Cheap sunglasses might not provide the right UV protection that is essential for a child. If there isn’t 100 per cent block of UV rays then it isn’t providing the necessary precaution. Visit your eye care professional or a reputable optical retailer before buying one. But remember to check that the high price that you are paying should be for greater protection only. Some of the high-priced children’s sunglasses are more of a fashion statement and hence should be avoided.
Children often play outdoors. Go for lenses that are made of polycarbonate and won’t crack while your child is playing. Allow your child to try on the prospective sunglasses to make sure they fit and aren’t uncomfortable.