As parents, we are always looking for ways to best protect our kids. From outfitting them in head-to-toe padding when they ride their bikes to watching the ingredients in what they eat, keeping them healthy and happy is always the priority. This is also why we are always so keen on ensuring that we slather them in sunscreen before letting them enjoy their summer days. However, one danger that is often overlooked is the effect of the sun’s harmful rays on their eyes.
According to recent reports, 82% of parents are aware of the dangers that the sun poses to their children’s skin and implement the usage of sunscreen. However, out of that same pool of parents, only 32% saw the importance of supplying their kids with protective eyewear. That’s a huge difference!
At this point you are probably saying, “Okay, I get that sunglasses are important. But how much harm is really being done by going without?” We’re so glad you asked.
Eye research tells us that a lack of eye protection before age 18 can lead to a whole host of issues including:
Premature formulation of cataracts, a condition which clouds the eyes’ lenses and creates blurred vision
The development of macular degeneration, which also happens to be the #1 cause of blindness in the US
Photokeratitis, better known as an eye sunburn
In addition to the effects on the actual eyes, prolonged exposure to the sun can lead to early aging and put children at risk for developing skin cancer.
So, how do we ensure that we are buying the right type of sunglasses to ensure maximum protection for our kids’ eyes? Well, for starters, make sure you are buying glasses that are built for more than just fashion. We all know that our kids love fun shades, but you really want to make sure you are getting the protection of quality eyewear too. Be sure to look for glasses that boast 100% UVA/UVB protection stickers, polycarbonate lenses (known for being tougher and less apt to break), and feature a bit of tinting.
The last thing to keep in mind is that sunglasses are a year-round necessity. Sunlight reflects off snow during the winter months just as much as it does in the pool during the summer ones. Starting kids in sunglasses early and as a daily habit is a good way to create the behavior so that wearing sunglasses becomes a natural routine. And if your kid is prone to losing glasses and you need a little help, don’t worry! Fitz has a subscription service for that to make she he/she is sun protected all year long ;)
Remember, sunscreen is only half of the outdoors equation. It takes both sunscreen AND sunglasses to stay protected.