Your Children Need Sunglasses Too
Most people have no problem buying sunglasses with UV protection to protect their eyes throughout the year. Many however, fail to do the same for their children. Some parents, meaning well, will buy their children sunglasses that are cute or fun. If those glasses do not provide the same UV protection yours do, your children's eyes may suffer long-term damage.
Teach Children About Eye Health Early
Children often learn by example. It is their nature. If you teach children early to wear glasses, sunglasses, and other protective or helpful gear, they will usually follow your lead. Most think sunglasses are cool.
If you find you have a hard time getting your child to wear sunglasses, try letting them pick their own pair. Just make sure they provide proper protection. A recent study provided by the British Columbia Association of Optometrists suggests that everyone, even infants, require sun protection, including sunglasses.
Think you cannot find sunglasses for an infant? Think again. Retailers are more than happy to accommodate the needs of parents. When a study says children need eyeglasses, rest assured someone will listen.
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Why Sun Protection Is Important So Young
Children are most vulnerable to the sun early in life. Children who sunburn before 18 years old are more likely to have wrinkles than those that start tanning or burning later in life. During your child's youngest years, their bodies develop rapidly.
This is the time when they are most at risk for exposure to UV damage and other diseases associated with poor lifestyle habits. The good news is you can take action early and teach your children good habits, habits that last a lifetime. When you do, you all win.
Here are some tips for providing your children the best protection possible when in the sun or inside:
Your child should feel comfortable, whether they wear ordinary eyeglasses or sunglasses. Try finding sunglasses and frames that fit closely to your child's face and those that have large lenses, so they cover a broader part of your child's face.
- Always encourage your child to select a pair of sunglasses they like. Then buy a back-up pair, because children often break their sunglasses. You do not have to spend a fortune to get a good pair.
- If your child has to wear corrective lenses, let them also have a say in the design. Most retailers cater to the needs and style preferences of young and old alike in modern times.
- Make sure all eyewear you and your children where provides UV protection. That means sunglasses and sun block should protect against UV-A and UV-B rays, because both cause damage.
- Use sun block every day, even on cloudy days, to prevent sunburn.
- If you can, encourage your child to wear a wide brim hat along with sunglasses. They can also wear a hat in lieu of glasses, but the best protection comes from combining the two. You can often buy hats with little ties that go under children's chins if you find your child prefers to toss their hat to the wind.
- Wear hats when you go outdoors as well. You will show your child that sun protection is fun, fashionable and easy. You will also protect your own face and peepers from too much sun exposure.
- Remember the sun can even damage your hair! That is just one more reason to invest in a hat AND sunglasses.
- Have fun when picking sunglasses for your children. Choose fun and colorful styles.
- If your child needs eyeglasses, find out about getting sunglasses that provide vision correction as well. Typically, retailers offer a discount when you buy prescription sunglasses and eyeglasses.
- Make sure you buy sunglasses for kids with frames that fit your child's face. Sunglasses that are too small or too large will do more harm than good.
- Make sure the sunglasses your child selects are comfortable and easy to manage.
In the case of your infant, usually good shade, a bit of sun block and a wide-brim hat work well to provide almost as much sun protection as sunglasses alone.
Lastly, remember to have your child visit the optometrist by the time they turn three years old. Children often have problems seeing but do not realize it. Most eye doctors have special tools and instruments they can use to detect vision problems in children early.
Your child may receive an eye exam at school, but it will not be nearly as thorough as the one a trained ophthalmologist may provide. Make sure you protect your children's eyes the same way you would your own, and your entire family will benefit!
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