Choosing Sunglasses for Your Children
Most patients are keenly aware of the dangers of prolonged UV exposure to our skin. We diligently “lube-up” our kids with SPF 30, 40, 50 or even higher SPF sunblock when we are on the beach.
As most of us know– prolonged UV exposure either in high amounts of intensity or exposure over time has been directly linked to skin cancer.
What most folks are not aware of is the danger that high amounts of UV exposure pose for our eyes, and the very sensitive skin found immediately around our eyes (such as eyelids).
Ultra Violet (UV) Light is considered low energy light, invisible to the human eye, and as it enters the eye it is absorbed by several structures of the eye. In adults the vast majority of UV light is absorbed by the cornea and inter-ocular lens of the eye, and very little UV light reaches the sensitive vision producing nerve center of the eye – the retina. Prolonged exposure to those structures can cause pre-mature cataracts (clouding of the inter-ocular lens) as well as several other corneal conditions.
For children, because their inter-ocular lens is clearer than older adults in addition to UV being absorbed by the cornea and inter-ocular lens – some UV reaches the retina. So in addition to the corneal inter-ocular damage discussed UV exposure to the retina can be linked to other retinal diseases such as macular degeneration.
Remember, UV exposure and the damage this invisible light can cause is cumulative over time, and because nearly three- quarters of our life-time exposure to UV happens before age 18 – you can see why protecting children’s eyes from these harmful rays is as important as remembering to “lube-up” with sunblock when our kids are outdoors. In fact according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, children under the age of 10 are at especially high risk for UV-related eye damage.
Choosing Sunglasses for Your Children
Lifelong eye care starts with childhood sunglasses, but where do you start? Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
Choosing Lenses for the Best Childhood Eye Care
Naturally, the most important part of your child’s sunglasses are the lenses. Your Chicago optometrist recommends:
- Lenses that block 99-100 percent of UV A and UV B rays—these are the two types of ultraviolet radiation that cause health problems like macular degeneration and skin cancer.
- Consider the color of the lens: For lighter colored eyes Gray tends to be helpful in reducing brightness when the sun is shining; Brown lenses are easier to wear on overcast days (remember clouds block the sun – not the UV rays emitted by the sun)
- Choose large lenses like wraparounds that provide superior coverage, blocking the sunlight that can sneak in through the sides of the frames, exposing the sensitive skin around the eyes to the Sun’s rays
- The lenses should sit close to the face and cover the entire eye.
- Choose sunglasses with durable lenses. Polycarbonate lenses are an ideal choice for kids, because these lenses offer the most impact resistance and they’re lightweight, combining durability, comfort and superior eye care.
While your Chicago optometrist and eye care professionals can help you choose frames that fit your child’s face, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Take your child’s input into consideration—most kids will resist wearing anything they don’t personally like.
- Look for frames that fit your child’s face snugly but comfortably, so that they don’t fall off during playtime.
- Flexible frames made from Nylon or Rubber, Zyl with spring hinges also resist a child’s potentially rough handling and the rigors of life on the playground
- If your child is very active in sports – look for specialized frames designed for sports activities. These frames are designed to take a beating and offer protection for the eyes by absorbing impact and minimizing potential damage to the eyes and areas around the eyes.
Exercising proper eye care by wearing sunglasses is critical no matter your age, but it’s especially important for children. Outfitting them with sunglasses now can help prevent ocular health problems later in life, so don’t put off this important precautionary measure.
Professional and clinically on target. My wife finally has received excellent care after being examined at Rosin. Highly recommend. Thank you.
I loved my visit here. I had a great doctor and I highly recommend her. She made the visit easy and smooth but was very detailed in her work. She was very open to my suggestions and gave me lots of options as far as lenses and gave me advice on how to improve my eyesight. The best visit with an Optometrist that I have ever had!