Why should a child have quality sunglasses?

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Parents shouldn’t save money by not buying sunglasses for their children. In the worst case, the child does not have sunglasses at all, or glasses are the cheapest possible option without a proper protection for ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

Some parents are simply not aware how important sunglasses are for their children’s eyes, whereas some parents are afraid that the child breaks the glasses.


Why should children wear sunglasses?

It is extremely important to protect children’s eyes with quality sunglasses. A child’s lens is bright and passes even 95% of light that comes to the eye. Accordingly, the eye of a 25-year-old passes only 25% of light.

Exposing the eye to UV radiation can cause a burn of the cornea, photokeratitis, also known as snow blindness. Photokeratitis causes a temporary loss of vision and is an extremely painful condition.

A long-term exposure to UV radiation can cause lens opacity and premature cataract. UV radiation can also cause macular degeneration.

Researches show that excessive exposure to UV radiation as a child increases the risk of having macular degeneration as a grown-up.

The best way to protect the child’s eyes is to wear sunglasses and hats that have a wide brim. It’s never too early to start wearing sunglasses. Even a small child notices that glasses help in the sun and stops ripping the glasses off when notices that the sun doesn’t dazzle.

The first thing to teach to a child is that sunglasses are not a toy. When the child is not wearing the glasses, they should be kept in the case. This way the glasses remain wearable longer.

What kind of sunglasses are suitable for children?

Children’s sunglasses should be durable and safe. The sunglasses for small children are often made of flexible material that can be bent to some extent. There shouldn’t be any sharp angles in the glasses that could hurt the child.

The lenses should definitely have a 100% UV protection. The color of the lens should reproduce colors as naturally as possible. Such colors are grey, brown and grey-green, also called G-15 color. The suitable degree of darkness for sunglasses is 70%. This much color removes dazzling, but it is still not too dark. The most important thing is that glasses are pleasant to wear.

How do sunglasses fit to a child?

The ridge of nose of a small child is usually very low. This fact poses challenges when fitting glasses on a child’s nose. When sunglasses fit well, eye lashes do not contact the glasses. The glasses shouldn’t feel uncomfortable or slip down. Sunglass cords (commonly called “retainers”) can also be a good idea. These can be attached to the temples of the sunglasses so that when removed (or knocked off), the sunglasses can hang from the neck. Also additional ends in ear pieces, so called silicon hooks, can be used. As children grow fast, there should be some growth reserve in the glasses.

Remember to stay reasonable with the growth reserve. The glasses are unlikely to last many years, as accidents may happen when children play, even if you try to be cautious.

How much do children’s sunglasses cost?

You may buy children’s sunglasses even with a couple of euros from supermarkets. If you go to an optician store, the prices range from 15 to 100 euros.

From supermarket or optician store?

If there is a CE marking in the sunglasses, they should fulfill the safety requirements defined for sunglasses. It should be born in mind, however, that the product manufacturer, or alike, informs with a CE marking to authorities that the product complies the essential safety requirements defined in the directive. To use a CE marking, no outside authority check on the safety of the product is required.

There have been cases that sunglasses meant as toys are sold as safe for children’s eyes because they hold a CE marking. However, the product only holds the CE marking because it is a safe toy, not safe as sunglasses.

Optician stores only sell glasses of well-known manufacturers that have good UV protection and optics.

Mere UV protection does not guarantee good quality of sunglasses. Quality sunglasses hold quality optics as well. The lenses do not distort and the picture is clear despite the dark lenses.

Children’s sunglasses with prescription

If a child wears eye glasses, then naturally sunglasses with prescription are needed as well. One option to consider is to have lenses that tarnish according to light they are exposed to. This way the child doesn’t need to switch between two pair of glasses.

Children break or lose glasses anyway?

Customers often think that it’s not worth buying sunglasses to a child from an optician store as they’ll get lost or broken anyway. Well, they should think again as the glasses bought from optician are made of better materials than the ones that supermarkets sell and thus are more endurable.

In our family, the child hasn’t broken even one pair of glasses. Mum instead has broken the child’s glasses when trying to adjust them without proper tools 🙂

Our child had the first pair of sunglasses when he was six months old. When he was one, there was a time period when he tried to rip the glasses off. Nowadays he can remind us to give him the sunglasses when the sun is shining if we forget it. He has also worn sunglasses in daycare and nothing has happened to the glasses there, even though he is quite an energetic child.

Please note that the advice and tips given in this blog are based on Finnish regulations and laws. Therefore, you need to verify the regulations and laws in your country from your own optician, optometrist or eye specialist.

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