Research shows that more than 40 percent of parents don’t proactively ensure their children wear UV protective sunglasses – the most effective tool for blocking damaging UVA and UVB rays. This is extremely dangerous for kids, especially those under ten, who are at higher risk of UV damage than adults.
The Vision Council
The Vision Council is a nonprofit trade association representing the manufacturers and suppliers of the optical industry. Their member companies manufacture and/or distribute everything from eyeglass lenses and frames to sunglasses to eyeglass cases and accessories. An important part of their work is educating adults and children about vision health and eye safety.
The Vision Council recently hosted a webinar featuring two eye experts:
- Dr. Dora Adamopoulos, an optometrist in Alexandria, Va., and mother of two. She is also a member of the Better Vision Institute, the medical advisory arm to The Vision Council.
- Jamie Shyer, a chairman to The Vision Council and COO of his family-owned fashion eyeglass frame supplier, Zyloware Eyewear. He lives in Connecticut with his wife, two kids and five dogs.
According to Dr. Adamopoulos, children receive three times the annual sun exposure of adults. Their immature lens makes them especially susceptible to UV-related damage and UV exposure at any age can cause both short and long term vision problems – many of which can’t be reversed. Even a small amount of unprotected exposure is dangerous. UV exposure adds up over time and can lead to serious health problems as you and your children age. That’s why it’s increasingly important to have sunglasses handy at all times.
Mr. Shyer gave advice on how to choose the right sunglasses for your family:
- For the beach or pool friendly family, consider polarized lenses. They work exceptionally well at filtering out reflected glare from shiny surfaces like water and pavement. Polarized lenses also improve contrast and visibility so you don’t feel like you need to squint.
- For the sports players and enthusiasts, you should look into impact-resistant lenses. These lenses are designed to handle high-impact, like baseballs, lacrosse balls, Frisbees, or any other projectile. Most of these lenses are made from high performance materials like polycarbonate, polyurethane or Trivex.
- For parents always on the go, consider anti-reflective lenses that provide extra protection in difficult lighting situations. These can be especially helpful on the road and during sunrise and sunset.
- When choosing sunglasses, it’s always best to buy from a reputable retailer. Look for shades that meet criteria set by the American National Standards Institute, or ANSI for short. Some glasses will have an ANSI label directly on the lens while others will include the ANSI label on a tag, box or in a warranty.
- Consider a lens color that improves clarity and reduces glare. For example, brown/ amber/ copper lenses are tints that reduce glare and improve contrast and visibility. These are great for golfing, water and snow sports. Retailers can help you determine which tint or color will meet your specific needs.
However, we all know how difficult it is to get kids to wear something they don’t want to. Here are some tips to help your child want to wear their sunglasses:
- As parents, we always have to be creative. If your kids like stickers, you might try letting them put two to three stickers on glasses to give them some independence. Limit sticker use to the frames so that you don’t cover any lines of sight.
- For little ones, buy an inexpensive pair of sunglasses and outfit their favorite stuffed animals in them. When their favorite friends are being sunwise, they will be too.
- You should also try wearing your sunglasses every time you have the opportunity. Not only is it a healthy habit to get into – it will also reinforce this behavior in your children.
- One of the most important things to consider when purchasing sunglasses is comfort; not because comfort is more important than health but because sunglasses won’t get worn if they aren’t comfortable and use is our top priority.
So the next time you’re outdoors, don’t forget to bring along sunglasses for yourself as well as your kids! And stop by The Vision Council’s website www.missingsunglasses.com for more useful information about sunglasses, lenses, tints and frames.
Information courtesy of The Vision Council
Owner of An Island Life and Family Review Network. Wife, mother, and flight attendant . . . living a blessed life in Hawaii.