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Published on March 31, 2016

Sunglasses for Kids

Boy wearing sunglasses

Boy wearing sunglassesWith spring just around the corner and summer not far behind, we’ll soon be spending more days and hours outside. Although, the fact is that in Southern California, the sun and its effects are a reality all year long. 

Surprisingly, a significant number of adults still don’t wear sunglasses when they’re outside. And the use of sunglasses among children is even lower, all while children spend considerably more time outdoors compared to adults. “UV light is more damaging to children’s eyes than to adults because their corneas, lenses and fluids are clearer and their pupils are bigger so more light gets in more easily,” says Chester Cheng, OD. “The sun’s damage is cumulative, so it’s important to continuously protect yourself and your children.”

Studies show that by 18 years old, children have absorbed about 25% of their total lifetime exposure to UV radiation.

Sun Damage Risks

UV light increases the risk of:

  • Cataracts — a clouding of the lens
  • Pinguecula — thickening of the white of the eye
  • Pterygium — a growth over the surface of the cornea
  • Photokeratitis, or “sunburn of the eye” — which can lead to temporary blindness
  • Eyelid Cancer
  • Macular Degeneration – damage to the tissue responsible for good vision, and the leading cause of blindness in seniors

Protect Them Early

Many opticians now agree that children should wear sunglasses as early as age 3. Just like for adults, kid sunglasses should offer both UVA and UVB protection and meet ANSI (American National Standards Institute) standards. So, put sunglasses on your children anytime they’re outdoors (beach, park, playground, sports, events, etc). Use an elastic strap to hold the glasses on their heads and help the littler ones put them on and take them off as necessary.

The information in Healthy Living Online is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.  The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation, or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.

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