Children and Sunglasses

Why should my child wear sunglasses?

Children spend a lot of time outside.  Fair haired children with light-coloured eyes─blue, grey or green, are more at risk to ultraviolet light because there is less pigment protecting the eyes.

Younger eyes have bigger pupils and a clearer lens letting up to 79% more sunlight into their eye than an adult’s eye does. 

  • The lens of the eyes can become damaged by proteins when exposed to sunlight.  This damage builds up over time and can become a cataract later in life.
  • The retina is the tissue that lines the back of the eye and focuses the images that we see with the lens of our eye, sending these images to our brain.
  •  The hardest working part of the retina is called the macula.  This lies directly in the path of the light rays focused by the lens.  The macula is used for detailed vision like reading and recognizing faces. 

Risk for damage to the retina is greatest in children under 10. 

When is it most important for a child to wear sunglasses?

Sunrise and sunset—when the sun is low in the sky.  Sunlight enters the pupil more directly as the sun rises and sets than when it is high in the sky at midday. The risk from sunlight increases whenever the sun is not right overhead—UV light can shine more directly into the eyes during these hours.

Sunglasses should be worn during all seasons even during winter.  Sunlight reflected off of the snow can do a lot of damage to many parts of your eyes.  Even when it is not sunny, UV rays are still present and damage can still be done.

For a lifetime of good vision, wear sunglasses all your life!