Currently, the ophthalmic market offers a wide range of sunglasses for children. The assortment is replete with a variety of designs, shapes, colors and brands. Many parents wonder if children can wear sunglasses. Ophthalmologists say that children’s eyes need reliable protection from ultraviolet rays.
Can children wear sunglasses?
It is scientifically proved that in the first ten years of life the human lens is the most sensitive to the sun radiation, as it transmits up to 95% of ultraviolet rays. Therefore, a child’s eyes need special protection. In some countries, sunglasses are a mandatory part of the school uniform, along with a daily bag of “change. And this is not surprising, because ophthalmologists equate 40 minutes spent in bright light without glasses, to 2.5 hours of spending time in front of the TV.
Scientists from Australia have noted that in recent years, there has been an active spread of skin and eye diseases associated with UV exposure in children. As a rule, they begin to appear at a mature age, but up to 80% of the consequences of adverse effects of UV radiation accumulate in the body until 18 years. That is why it is important to take timely care of the protection of the child’s eyesight and to choose good quality sunglasses.
Does my child need sunglasses?
To answer this question, we need to understand the nature of the appearance and types of sunlight. Up to 40% of all radiation belongs to the visible spectrum and allows humans to distinguish the palette of colors. Another 50% of the sun’s rays are infrared. This is how we perceive heat. Ultraviolet rays make up only 10% of the radiation. It is invisible to the human eye. It is divided into several categories, according to wavelength: UVA (long wave), UVB (medium wave) and UVC (short wave).
Types of UVA:
- The 400-315 nm range is long-wavelength radiation;
- Range 315-280 nm – mid-wave radiation;
- Range 280-100 nm – short-wave radiation.
Short-wave UV rays practically do not reach the surface of the Earth, because they are trapped by the ozone layer. In turn, UVA and UVB rays are only partially captured by the atmosphere. The lens, as well as the mucous membrane and cornea of a child’s eye, up to 10 years old actively absorb them. In the absence of proper protection, the intense exposure to UV light can cause serious damage to the baby’s visual system. At the early age, they are practically imperceptible, but as time passes, the crystalline lens gradually darkens and the risk of cataract development increases. To avoid this, ophthalmologists recommend that children wear sunglasses. It is worth noting that moderate amounts of ultraviolet rays are beneficial for children’s bodies. They contribute to the production of vitamin D, which strengthens the musculoskeletal system, and also have a positive effect on improving the tone and mood.
How to choose sunglasses for a child?
Modern manufacturers, such as Ray Ban, Luxottica, Pepe Jeans and others, offer a wide selection of children’s sunglasses. As a rule, they have bright and colorful frames that attract the attention of children. However, when buying optics, you should consider not only the decorative component, but also the protective properties of the lenses. It is important that they prevent the penetration of ultraviolet rays and take care of preserving the health of the child’s eyes.
Many people believe that the darker the lenses, the better they block UV radiation. However, this is a misconception. It all depends on the presence of a special filter. Transparent models can well absorb harmful radiation, as well as darkened, if their surface has a special coating. Putting sun glasses on your baby with tinted glasses without a UV filter, you put his eyes at increased risk. The pupil reacts by dilation to low light intensities, which encourages more UV to reach the lens, cornea, and retina. As a rule, the UV absorption level is indicated on the inside of the temple of the eyeglasses. The higher the value, the better. When it comes to light absorption, ophthalmologists state that it is advisable to choose sunglasses for children with gray, brown or yellow-brown lenses with a medium light absorption level (up to 70%). It is not recommended to buy glasses for your child with blue, gray-blue and green lenses. They look spectacular, but they stimulate pupil dilation, which with prolonged exposure to the sun can lead to eye burns.
Example of markings on children’s eyeglasses:
- “В-15”. This designation indicates that you are looking at an accessory with brown lenses (brown) that transmit up to 15% and retain up to 85% of UV rays;
- “G-20”. Grey or green sunglasses that let in up to 20% and retain up to 80% of UV rays.
Often parents wonder which sunglasses for children are of good quality. At home the presence of an ultraviolet filter can be determined quite easily, but it takes time. After wearing these optical products, the area around the baby’s eyes will remain unburned.
How to choose sunglasses for a child: basic requirements
The main requirements for the materials of sunglasses for children are hypoallergenic, safety, comfort and lightness. Many parents give preference to polycarbonate models, because, unlike glass, they eliminate the risk of injury to children when they hit or fall. Children are very active, they are fond of a variety of sports and games, forgetting that on the face is a serious optical device. Therefore, plastic glasses are safer.
Another important parameter to consider when choosing sunglasses for children is the frame. Conventionally, the products can be divided into three categories: for babies from 0-5 years, kids from 6-10 years, and teenagers from 11-15 years. Each of them has certain characteristics associated with the anatomical features of the child. For example, members of the younger category tend to have a more rounded face with eyes close together, as well as a fairly flat and low bridge of the nose. Designers pay close attention to the shape of the frames so that they have a wide field of vision and fit comfortably on the face. In addition, manufacturers draw attention to their products elastic colorful ribbons, as well as laces and chains that allow fixing glasses on the head. Some models of children’s sunglasses are equipped with a polarizing filter that prevents the harmful effect of reflected light (from water, snow, ice or other horizontal surfaces). They additionally protect the organs of vision from severe fatigue.
Children can wear sunglasses without dioptres as well as with optical power. The latter are used not only for protection of eyesight against ultra-violet radiation, but also for correction of various refractive errors: myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism, etc. Before buying these products, you should be examined by an ophthalmologist. The doctor will examine the individual characteristics of the small patient’s visual system and make a prescription stating the required parameters.
What parameters to consider when choosing glasses for your child:
- The material of manufacture (it is important that it is hypoallergenic, safe, comfortable and lightweight).
- The frame. It is important that it sits well: does not squeeze the head and bridge of the nose, securely locked the glasses during sudden movements and does not cause other inconveniences.
- Presence of dioptres (models with optical power are used to correct myopia, hyperopia and other refractive errors).
- Availability of protective filters (UV filter, polarizing filter, etc.).
- The level of darkening of the lenses (does not affect the catching of ultraviolet radiation).
- Color (it is desirable to choose models with gray, brown or yellow-brown lenses).
It should be noted that children’s sunglasses are not only a protective, but also a decorative accessory. It is important that they please the kid visually and deliver maximum positive emotions. The model chosen correctly “sits” perfectly on the bridge of the nose, so the baby will forget about its presence in a few minutes after wearing it. As the child grows older, the bridge of the nose changes its shape (becomes higher and narrower), therefore, you should not expect him to wear the same glasses for several years. Ophthalmologists recommend changing them at least once every year or two years.