Sunglasses for Babies and Children: What You Should Keep in Mind
Just like the skin, the eyes can also be affected by sun exposure. Especially in the case of the little ones, as their ocular tissues are still developing. So, are sunglasses for babies and children advisable? Below, we’ll tell you everything you need to know.
Children’s eye health and UV rays
Protecting children from the effects of the sun is extremely necessary today, as holes in the ozone layer allow potentially harmful sunlight to enter.
It’s common for the little ones in the house to enjoy the outdoors and play for hours in the sunlight. But you have to know that they’re especially exposed to solar radiation.
UV rays are part of solar energy and reach the earth’s surface as UVA and UVB radiation. Both can affect health because they penetrate the skin and eyes and can accumulate in these tissues.
In addition, the eyes of children are much more vulnerable than those of adults. Because they’re unable to filter this radiation correctly, they cause damage to the different structures:
- In the short term, sun exposure can lead to photokeratitis, which is a kind of sunburn that affects the cornea and conjunctiva of the eye and causes pain, blurred vision, and tearing.
- In the medium term, exposure to UV rays increases the risk of developing pterygium, a benign, pink mass that appears near the cornea.
- What’s more, eye cataracts and macular degeneration can be triggered.
Read more: What Should You Do to Treat Sunburns?
Are sunglasses for babies and children recommended?
For the reasons stated above, specialists recommend sunglasses for babies and children. This way, it’s possible to protect the eye cells, the skin of the eyelids, and the rest of the delicate tissues that make up this organ.
Children’s sunglasses must have UV 400 protection, which blocks 98% of ultraviolet radiation and reduces the risk of eye injury.
In addition, this accessory works as a barrier to outside particles, such as beach sand and other pollutants.
What’s the ideal age to start using sunglasses for babies and children?
According to the recommendation of experts, babies can wear sunglasses starting at 6 months. But yes, these elements must meet certain quality specifications.
It’s not necessary for the child to wear sunglasses continuously, but rather when exposed to strong sun. For example, when they go to the beach, the pool, the mountains, or the snow.
The constant use of sunglasses in babies and children isn’t advisable, as the retina needs the entry of light to develop properly. Therefore, the excessive use of this accessory can trigger other alterations, such as photophobia or impairment in the perception of color.
What should I take into account when choosing sunglasses for little ones?
The most important point when purchasing glasses for babies and children is to opt for quality products. For that, you need to follow some of the recommendations from professionals:
- The material of the glasses must be safe for children. Ideally, it should be silicone or another flexible material to avoid breakage. In addition, it must be hypoallergenic.
- They must have a UV 400 protection filter.
- The frame of the glasses must be enveloping. That is to say, that it adapts to the face and is snug. This prevents the rays from seeping through the sides.
- The glasses should have fastening straps in order to stay on while the baby is moving.
Along with this, it’s important that they comply with the regulations of each country. In the case of Europe, they must have the acronym CE, which is a guarantee of compliance with the regulations of the European community.
It’s best to purchase sunglasses for babies and children directly from an optician in order to ensure that the quality criteria of the protective filters are met. If possible, it’s important to let the child choose them, to facilitate their acceptance.
Protect your children from the sun
In addition to sunglasses, children need to be protected with hats and visors that cover the skin of the face. Similarly, the use of proper sunscreen should never be lacking.
Finally, if you still have doubts about the use of sunglasses for babies and children, we recommend that you take your child for an evaluation with an ophthalmologist to assess their eye health and clarify concerns about this issue.It might interest you...
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Díez, J. (2015). Oftalmología pediátrica todos los días. Madrid. Curso de Actualización Pediatría 2015. Madrid: Lúa Ediciones 3.0. p. 491-502.
- Magaluf, A. (2004). Fotoprotección Ocular. Farmacia profesional. Vol. 18. Núm. 6. p.56-60.
- Mayo clinic (2021). Do children need sunglasses?. Recuperado de: https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/do-children-need-sunglasses.
- Organización mundial de la salud (2003). Índice UV mundial global, guía practica. Recuperado de: https://www.who.int/uv/publications/en/uvispa.pdf