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boy wearing kids sunglasses

As a father, the well-being of my son is my top priority. And when it comes to his eye health, I’ve learned that shielding his big, beautiful, and delicate peepers from the sun’s damaging rays is absolutely crucial.

While adults religiously don their shades, as a fashion statement, when stepping outside, I’ve often noticed kids running around without any eye protection whatsoever. This needs to change – here are the top 7 reasons why kids should be wearing sunglasses from an early age.

Reasons Why Young Children Should Wear Sunglasses

1. Protect Their Eyes Now

Children’s eyes are not as developed as ours, which means they are far more susceptible to the harmful effects of ultraviolet (UV) radiation. In fact, it’s estimated that a staggering 80% of a person’s lifetime UV exposure occurs before they reach the age of 18. Without proper protection, this can lead to some serious and painful eye conditions, even at a young age.

One of the most common is photokeratitis, often referred to as “sunburn of the eye.” This inflammation of the cornea can cause excruciating pain, sensitivity to light, and temporary vision loss – not the kind of experience I’d want my little one to endure. I don’t want to freak out the parents but that’s the truth…

This condition may seem temporary, but the damage it causes can have lasting repercussions. Unprotected ultraviolet radiation exposure in youth significantly increases the risk of developing serious eye diseases later in life, such as cataracts, macular degeneration, and even eye cancer. Wowzers!

2. Keep Kids’ Eyes Healthy for the Long Haul

The effects of the sun’s rays are cumulative, meaning they build up over a lifetime. So while a child may not experience any immediate issues from sun exposure, the groundwork for serious problems down the line is being laid.

Cataracts, for instance, are a clouding of the eye’s natural lens that can severely impair vision. They’re typically an age-related condition, but guess what – excessive UV exposure is a major risk factor.

The same goes for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which gradually destroys the macula, the part of the eye responsible for our sharpest central vision. Sadly, there’s no cure for AMD, but sunglasses can help delay its progression.

While eye cancer is relatively rare, harmful UV rays are a known contributor to this potentially sight-threatening condition as well.

The bottom line is, that by shielding my child’s eyes from UV light now, I’m investing in his ocular health and preventing long-term damage. It’s a small price to pay to help ensure he can enjoy clear, comfortable vision well into adulthood.

2 children wearing kids sunglasses and swimming

3. Protect the Delicate Skin Around Their Eyes

When it comes to sun protection, most parents are diligent about slathering sunscreen on their kids’ exposed skin. But did you know that the delicate area around the eyes is particularly vulnerable to UV damage as well? Sunscreen can actually cause irritation if it gets in the eyes, so sunglasses are a much better solution.

Wraparound and aviator-style frames provide excellent coverage, shielding not just the eyes but also the sensitive skin of the eyelids and the surrounding orbital area. This helps prevent premature wrinkling, sagging, and even skin cancer in these high-exposure zones. I want my boy to enjoy his youth without worrying about prematurely aged or damaged skin.

4. Establish Healthy Habits Early On

One of the best things about getting my son into the sunglasses habit early is that it sets him up for a lifetime of smart sun-safety practices. Just like teaching him to brush his teeth or wear a seatbelt, making sunglasses a consistent part of his outdoor routine now will ingrain it as a natural, automatic behavior.

Plus, by modeling the behavior myself – you better believe I’m rocking my shades every time we head out! – I’m reinforcing the importance of eye protection. Kids are naturally observant, and they’re more likely to adopt habits they see their parents and other trusted adults consistently demonstrating.

5. Enhance Clarity and Reduce Glare

Sunglasses aren’t just about blocking the sun’s UV rays – they can also improve visual comfort and performance in bright, glare-heavy environments. Polarized lenses, for instance, are fantastic at reducing harsh reflections off surfaces like water, snow, and pavement. This makes it easier for kids to see clearly when they’re at the beach, on the slopes, or even just walking down a sunny city street.

And for children who already wear prescription lenses, prescription sunglasses are a game-changer. Not only do they provide the same UV protection and glare reduction, but they also ensure sharp, undistorted vision in bright conditions. No more squinting and struggling to make out details!

two boys standing outside wearing kids sunglasses.

6. Accommodate Sensitive Eyes

Some kids are simply more sensitive to light than others, often due to factors like eye color. Those with lighter irises, for example, tend to have less pigment to block out intense rays. Sunglasses can be a lifesaver for these little ones, shielding their eyes from painful brightness and allowing them to comfortably enjoy outdoor activities.

I’ve also noticed that certain weather conditions – think snow, water, and even hazy overcast skies – can exacerbate light sensitivity for some children. Sunglasses provide instant relief, preventing squinting, headaches, and other disruptive symptoms that can ruin playtime.

7. Safeguard Against Digital Eye Strain

In today’s tech-saturated world, kids are spending more time than ever staring at screens – computers, tablets, smartphones, you name it. And all that blue light exposure can wreak havoc on their developing eyes and cause vision problems. Sunglasses with lenses specifically designed to filter out high-energy blue wavelengths can help reduce eyestrain, blurred vision, and even sleep disruption.

cute girl wearing sunglasses

Choosing the Right Kids’ Sunglasses

With all these awesome reasons to get my boy into sunglasses, the next step is finding the perfect pair. Stay away from cute novelty sunglasses! We need to be serious about uvb protection. When shopping, I always make sure to look for the following key features:

100% UV Protection

This is non-negotiable. According to the World Health Organization, the sunglasses must block 100% of both UVA and UVB rays, which is typically indicated by a “UV 400” label. Anything less just won’t cut it when it comes to safeguarding my son’s sensitive eyes.

Durable, Flexible Frames

Kids can be tough on their belongings, so I need sunglasses with frames that can withstand a bit of abuse. Polycarbonate is an excellent, lightweight, and shatter-resistant material. The best way to make sure they will last is to buy frames with spring hinges or flexible temples, as they’ll better accommodate the changing contours of kids’ growing faces.

Proper Fit

Sunglasses that slip, slide, or pinch can be a major annoyance for little ones, making them less likely to wear them consistently. I look for frames that sit comfortably on the bridge of the nose and wrap snugly around the temples without causing discomfort.

Stylish Appeal

Let’s be honest – if the sunglasses don’t look cool, my kids probably won’t want to wear them, especially older children.  Luckily, there are tons of fun, fashionable frames designed specifically for children.

Last Thoughts…

With the right pair of kids sunglasses ticking all these boxes, I can rest assured that my boy’s eyes have proper UV protection from the sun’s harmful rays, now and in the future. It’s a small investment with huge dividends for their long-term eye health and comfort. As a dad, that’s a no-brainer in my book.

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