Does Your Tiny Human Need Sunglasses? - Tiny Reads | Tiny Reads

Does Your Tiny Human Need Sunglasses?

By Hannah Wren

 

Parents tend to do everything they can to protect their babies’ skin from ultraviolet radiation (UVR). But do they need to protect their tiny humans’ eyes from the sun, too? The quick answer is yes. Shielding your tiny human’s eyes from the sun’s powerful summer rays is just as important as shielding their skin. Young children are more vulnerable to UVR because their retina is still developing the pigments that help block it [1]. Consequently, kids who are in the sun for prolonged periods of times without appropriate eye protection are more likely to get UVR ocular diseases in their adult years [2].  

“Any problems with [children’s] eyes or the normal function of their sight while they are still properly forming can have a profound and lasting impact on a child’s overall physical and cognitive development,” says John Windell, researcher for The Community Practitioners and Health Visitors Association [3].

Choosing Sunglasses For Your Toddler

Before investing in a pair of sunglasses for your tiny human, make sure they protect against a high percentage of UVB and UVA rays or they can actually be harmful to your tiny human’s eye health. For example, when lenses are merely darkened without the appropriate percentage of ray blockers they can cause pupil dilation, which makes the eye more vulnerable to UVR [4]. UVR percentage can usually be found on the tag of the glasses.

Another factor to consider when choosing sunglasses for your toddler is fit. Since sunglasses can easily move around tiny humans’ faces when they play and even the smallest shift affects the percentage of UVR they block, we suggest finding a pair that comes with a headband in the back [4]. Hats are another way to help keep your tiny human’s eyes healthy this summer as well as sun covers for strollers.

 

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References:

[1] Ultraviolet light and ocular diseases.Yam JC, Kwok AK. Int Ophthalmol. 2014 Apr;34(2):383-400. doi: 10.1007/s10792-013-9791-x. Epub 2013 May 31.

[2] Ultraviolet-related ocular problems in children living on the coast of Southwest Sumba, Indonesia. Sitompul R, Sitorus R, Barliana J, Andrissa R, Prakoso B, Daniel H, Kusumowigado G, Soedarman S, Sungkar S. Vol.58, No.3(2018).p.128-32;doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.14238/pi58.3.2018.128-32

[3] The Eyes Have It. Windell J. The Community Practitioners and Health Visitors Association. Vol. 91, Iss 2. 2018 Mar: 24-26

[4] The Effect of Sunglasses on Ocular Exposure to Ultraviolet Radiation. Rosenthal F, Bakalina A, Lou C, Taylor H. AJPH 1998 January, Vol. 78, No. 1