Choosing Sunglasses to Protect Your Eyes at Every Stage in Life
If you want to have the best vision possible throughout your life it is important to choose the right sunglasses and to wear them properly and frequently. Choosing the right sunglasses for a child, teenager or adult is important. While there will be some similarities in the type of glasses you should choose at every stage in life, there will also be some differences. Here are some helpful tips for choosing sunglasses in every stage of life.
Why are sunglasses necessary?
The sun is constantly producing harmful rays known as ultraviolet radiation. These rays are very damaging to the eye and long term exposure can put you at a greater risk age related macular degeneration, cataracts and eye cancers and other conditions. One of the best ways to lower your risk and to protect your vision is to wear sunglasses. It is also important to ensure that your children learn these important habits from a young age.
While many people realize the need to wear sunglasses themselves, few think to put sunglasses on their infants. Since your babyís eyes are not yet fully developed they are at greater risk than an adult eye for sun damage. When babies are born their eyes are still undergoing changes and maturing. A babyís lenses are unable to block UV light and nearly all UV rays that the eyes are exposed to make their way to the retina. These UV blocking lenses will develop throughout childhood and adolescence. By 25 the lens is able to absorb almost all of the UV light that it is exposed to. Protecting your babyís eyes is just as important, if not more so, than protecting your own eyes from the sun and its UV rays.
It can be tricky to find sunglasses for a baby. Many of the cute models do not offer the level of UV protection necessary. You need to find sunglasses that offer 100% UVA and UVB protection. Wrap around style sunglasses offer the eye more protection than other styles. Many parents have trouble getting their children to keep their sunglasses on, so find a pair that they like and keep an eye on them to ensure that the sunglasses stay in place. In addition to sunglasses make sure that baby wears a wide brimmed hat whenever they are in the sun as this will provide additional sun protection.
Many parents find it useful to watch the UV index and to limit taking baby outdoors during the times when the UV levels are the highest. This is especially important in infants since their eyes face the greatest risk when exposed to ultraviolet radiation.
Toddlers and children
When choosing sunglasses for toddlers and children it is especially important to choose sunglasses that the child likes and finds comfortable. If they donít like their sunglasses, they wonít wear them and their eyes will be exposed to harmful UV rays. Just like when choosing sunglasses for baby make sure that they offer 100% UV protection from both A and B type rays. In addition to a good pair of sunglasses have your child wear a wide brimmed hat as this can reduce UV exposure as much as 50%.
Children are always growing so it is important to regularly replace their sunglasses with ones that fit properly. Sunglasses that are too large or too small for their face will not protect the eyes as well as sunglasses that fit properly. Donít buy a larger pair than necessary thinking that your child will grow into them. Instead choose sunglasses that fit at the time of purchase and replace them often.
Children are prone to breaking things and to accidents so it may be wise to invest in impact resistant sunglasses which will protect your childís eyes from injury should something happen to the glasses. Also evaluate the construction of each pair of glasses and find a pair that is well constructed so that it will be able to endure an active child.
Young children and toddlers can really benefit from having a pair of sunglasses with straps or with ear pieces that wrap around the ear. This will help to keep your child from removing their sunglasses and will keep them from getting lost. If your child wears prescription lenses make sure that they also have a pair of prescription sunglasses available for when they are in the sun.
Teens generally worry more about the look of a pair of sunglasses than the UV protection that they provide. Talk with your teens about the importance of choosing sunglasses with 100% UV protection and then help them to find stylish glasses that fit this requirement. Cheap sunglasses are much less likely to offer the UV protection that your teenagerís eyes need so donít be afraid to invest in a good pair.
Teens that are very active or that participate in athletic events may need specialized sunglasses for different sports or activities. For example a pair of polarized sunglasses might be an ideal choice for a day on the water or at the lake while a pair of impact resistant glasses might be more appropriate for biking. Sunglasses with interchangeable lenses are often an ideal choice for the active teenager. Establishing good eye care habits during the childhood years is important because it will help to make regular sunglass use easier with your teenage child.
While your eyes will receive approximately 80% of their lifelong exposure to UV radiation before age 18 it is still important to protect your eyes from the sun. Wearing sunglasses will help your children to establish good habits and will protect your eyes. Make sure that you choose glasses that offer 100% UVA and UVB protection. In addition look for glasses that are worn close to the face since this can further reduce your exposure to UV rays.
Make sure that you avoid cheap sunglasses since these can actually damage the eye more than help it. Unless the sunglasses specifically indicate that they offer UVA and UVB protection, they do not, even if the lenses are dark. These dark lenses allow the pupil to open up and let more radiation in than if you hadnít worn sunglasses at all.
You should also choose your sunglasses based on the type of life that you lead and the activities that you participate in. Your eye doctor will be able to give you the best advice on the type of sunglasses that will best protect your eyes in different situations.
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