Most adults have a natural reaction to grab for their sunglasses before heading out the door. It’s instinct to put them on when we find ourselves squinting because it’s a bright, sunny day. Sunglasses are something that most adults wear on a daily basis, but how often are our kids wearing sunglasses? Does it really matter if our kids are wearing sunglasses on a sunny day? The answer to this is, and will always be, YES!!!
Protecting those young eyes should be a must for a parent! Kids are constantly outside, from recess, outdoor sports and playtime with friends. When our kids go outside we put sunscreen on them to protect their skin, so why are we not putting something on their eyes to protect them? Kids tend to spend more time outside, which is a huge reason why they need the extra sun protection for their eyes.
The lenses in children’s eyes allow more UV radiation to pass through to the retina. This is because children's eyes are still maturing and cannot filter out the harmful UV rays as effectively as adults. Since the UV radiation that enters the eye causes cell damage, this puts children at a higher risk for many eye complications later in life.
What is ultraviolet (UV) light you might ask… the simple version is, UV light is an invisible electromagnetic radiation emitted by the sun. UV light can have harmful effects on the eyelid, cornea, lens and retina. Even on a cloudy day UV rays can penetrate through the clouds, causing eye damage.
Kids generally receive 3x the annual sun exposure of adults, and their young eyes are especially susceptible to UV harmful rays. Kids are also wearing sunglasses far less than parents, even though they need the eye protection more than adults.
- The lens of a child’s eye transmits about 70 percent more UV than an adult’s eye, which puts their retina at a greater risk
- The cells of the lens and proteins in the eye lens are never replenished, so damage accumulates over time making it even more important for kids to wear sunglasses earlier
- Kids under 10 years old have skin that is more fragile and is more susceptible to eye damage
- Kids are outside far more than adults, and the half of the damage that occurs to their eyes is most likely to happen in the first 20 years of their life
- Very bright sunlight (such as light reflected off sand, snow, water or concrete) can cause immediate damage to the cornea, so Sunnies are a must at the beach, lake, winter activities, and even just on walks outdoors
- The long-term effects of sunburned eyes are collective and not completely reversible. The cataract, pterygium and macular degeneration, melanomas of older age likely begin with childhood UV exposure
As a parent, it’s incredibly important to encourage your kids to wear sunglasses. Just make sure that you choose kids sunglasses that block 99 to 100% of UVA/UVB rays, and make sure your kids have a say in the glasses they choose. Chances are they will be more likely to wear them if they actually like them! That’s why Sunnies come in super fun color and print options so your kid can express their unique personality and style in whichever polarized Sunnies they choose!
If you wear sunglasses to protect your own eyes, please don’t forget about your kid’s eyes. The sun is not seasonal! Winter, spring, summer and fall… If the sun is out, Sunnies should be on!