By Holly Young, O.D.
As an optometrist and mother, I am constantly aware of protecting my children’s eyes whether it is from flying objects or from damaging ultraviolet rays. It is estimated that the majority of sun exposure in a lifetime occurs by the time one reaches 18 years old. The long term effects of exposure to ultraviolet rays can ultimately contribute to cataracts and macular degeneration. Of course, these conditions occur later in life, but I feel strongly that we should start protecting our children’s eyes early. When looking to buy sunglasses for your little ones, you should purchase ones that block 99-100% of UVA and UVB rays. They may say that they meet ANSI (American National Standards Institute) requirements or that they block up to 400 nm. Since we all know that kids are not the gentlest of creatures, the polycarbonate or impact resistant lenses are a great option. Kids like to be involved in the purchasing of the glasses too. We have several options and colors in our optical, so that each child can pick out a pair that is representative of their own personality. We carry brands such as Disney, Juicy, Seventeen, Jubilee and Weezers Infant Sunglasses! There are also elastic head straps available that help keep the glasses strapped on. Again, it is never too early or too late to start wearing sunglasses. We as parents should always wear our sunglasses too – our kids are watching our example!