I was privileged recently to get to sit in on a session with The Vision Council and learned some valuable information about the effects of UV rays on my kids’ vision and how to protect their sensitive eyes.
Did you know that in a recent survey of 10,000 U.S. adults, 73 percent of parents wear sunglasses to protect their eyes from ultraviolet radiation, but only 58 percent have their children wear sunglasses? The 58% actually surprised me a bit, I kind of thought it would be less…here in Oregon anyway, I rarely see sunglasses on kids when we’re out.
There’s a good reason for that, of course.
If you’ve ever given your child (especially a toddler) a pair of sunglasses, you know just how fast they are taken off, broken and/or lost.
It’s hard as a parent to want to invest the cost and the hassle of keeping your kids wearing sunglasses, but after listening to this session, I’m convinced it’s worth it!
Dr. Dora Adamopoulos, an optometrist in Alexandria, Va., and a member of the Better Vision Institute and Jamie Shyer, a chairman to The Vision Council, explained how our children are particularly susceptible to UV damage:
Children receive three times the annual sun exposure of adults and research shows that their young eyes are especially susceptible to UV-related harm.
UVA and UVB rays are constantly penetrating the Earth’s surface, leaving unprotected eyes exposed to harmful radiation. Although it’s commonly misperceived that UV rays are only out during sunny days, they are actually present throughout the day – no matter the season or weather.
Even a small amount of unprotected exposure is dangerous. UV exposure adds up over time and can lead to serious health problems as you and your children age. That’s why it’s increasingly important to have sunglasses handy at all times.
Unlike the mature lens of an adult eye, a child’s lens cannot filter out UV rays and so more radiation reaches the retina. Decades of sun exposure make older eyes much more prone to visual problems and disease from the cumulative damage of UV radiation.
It is, therefore, extremely important to buy a pair of UV-protective sunglasses from a reputable retailer, and use them!
I’m almost sure that these sunglasses I had already for our girls are not UV protective, so I’ve been doing some research on how and where to find better-quality ones.
Important Factors to Consider When Purchasing Sunglasses for Children
- Check to make sure they are UVA and UVB protective. This doesn’t necessarily make them super expensive. I have found several stylish options online for around $10.
(To double check if the style is reliably UV protective, look for a little sticker or tag on the lens that shows compliance with criteria set by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). The label “UV 380″ covers all UVA and UVB rays.)
- Make sure they are the right size and will be comfortable – sunglasses that pinch or are too tight around the ears are going to be taken off quicker.
- If your child is old enough to care, let them help pick out the style, making it more likely that they will keep them on!
- Consider styles with a rubber, strap-on band for younger babies or kids more likely to knock them off or lose them regularly.
- Consider polarized lenses. They work exceptionally well at filtering out reflected glare from shiny surfaces like water and pavement and are therefore especially nice to have if you spend a lot of time at the beach or pool. (I love my polarized lenses for driving!)
- The Vision Council’s website www.missingsunglasses.com is also full of useful information about sunglasses, lenses, tints and frames.
*Disclosure: I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by The Motherhood on behalf of The Vision Council and received compensation to thank me for taking the time to participate.
All opinions expressed are my own.