Sunglasses for children often come in, well, childish shapes and colors. But while those lime green, heart-shaped specs might seem silly, the risk of kids’ eyes getting damaged by the sun’s rays is deadly serious. And they’re not only a summer accessory; sunglasses can also protect us from snow glare and icy winds in the winter.
When we are born, the lenses of our eyes are 95 percent transparent, meaning they don’t filter harmful UV rays well. By the time you reach the age of 25, the lenses of your eyes are only 20 percent transparent, but the first decade of life is the most important time to protect children’s vision from the sun.
If your child doesn’t need prescription glasses, then you can find sun-protective eyewear very inexpensively. However if your child does have a prescription, you can consider either prescription sunglasses, photochromic lenses that change color in sunlight, or clip-on sunglasses that attach to the child’s regular frames.
These options are obviously more expensive, but it’s a good investment in the long run if you consider that the sun-related eye diseases can include cataracts, macular degeneration, and even cancer.
Most responsible parents will outfit young children in a sun hat, some sunscreen, maybe even some fashion sunglasses for a trip to the beach, but eye damage caused by sun exposure doesn’t just happen at the beach.
Australia is ahead of the curve when it comes to protecting children from UV rays. Since 1981 the country has had a prominent health campaign known as “Slip-Slop-Slap,” referring to the application of a shirt, some sunscreen, and a hat respectively. In later years as more was learned about eye health, the word “Wrap” was added to the slogan in reference to donning a pair of sunglasses.