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Do Children Need Sunglasses?

Girl toddler wearing sunglasses on the beach

Children are resilient, but not when it comes to their eyes. We all need protection from the sun’s harmful rays, but children need it more than adults. That’s why sunglasses for children are so essential for their long-term ocular health. Here’s why parents should purchase a quality pair of sunglasses for their kids.

Why is UV light harmful?

Sunlight consists of ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Exposure to UV rays has some health benefits, like producing vitamin D from sun exposure to the skin. However, too much UV exposure can cause our skin – and eyes – to burn. Photokeratitis, sometimes called snow blindness, is a short-term condition that can feel like a sunburn on the eye. Prolonged UV exposure can also do long-term damage to your corneas, lenses, and retinas. Over many years, this exposure may cause cataracts or macular degeneration, conditions that can lead to vision loss.

Why are children more sensitive to UV light?

Children are more sensitive to UV light because their eyes are still developing. The lenses inside the eyes filter out some harmful rays, but a child’s lens is still maturing and doesn’t yet have the same capabilities. They also have larger pupils that let more light in. Plus, the skin of their eyelids and around their eyes is more delicate than adult skin. Children should wear sunglasses in the sun, whether at the beach, building a snowman, or playing at the park.

How to get your child to wear sunglasses

Getting your child to wear sunglasses may be challenging. Even when they do wear them, they may lose or damage their glasses while playing. Here are some tips:

  • Have your child start wearing them at an early age

  • Let your child select a pair they like and feel comfortable wearing

  • Use a strap to prevent the glasses from falling off and getting damaged or lost

  • Wear your sunglasses, too, as children emulate their parents’ behaviour

How to buy sunglasses for your child

Sunglasses protect your child’s vision, so don’t just buy any off-the-rack pair. Here are some tips for buying the best sunglasses for your child:

  • Choose a lightweight and shatterproof lens made of polycarbonate

  • Ensure the lenses filter out 100 percent UVA and UVB light

  • Choose a lens size that covers a good portion of the eyes

  • Talk to a pediatric optometrist about the best children’s sunglasses

Pediatric optometrist and eyeglasses in Edmonton

At Optometrists’ Clinic Inc., our eye doctors can conduct a pediatric eye exam for your child. We also offer a wide range of fashionable prescription and non-prescription sunglasses for kids and adults. Our opticians have experience fitting eyeglasses and sunglasses for kids and adults. Check out our selection of eyewear by visiting one of our five locations in the Edmonton area, or contact us today to book an eye exam.



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