Importance of UV Protection in Eyewear

Importance of UV Protection For Children's Eyes

We're sure you've seen those cute little red heart-shaped sunglasses for kids at the store before, and it's also pretty likely that you thought, "Aww! Those are too cute!" Well, we're right there with you! But did you know that even though those sunglasses had a dark tint that doesn't mean they would protect your little lady's eyes?

"Whoa...hold the front door. You're saying that it's not necessarily the color of the lenses that protects our eyes?!"

You got it! While the tinted lenses help our eyes see more comfortably outside, what really matters is whether the lenses have UVA and UVB protection. For kids even more than adults, making sure their sunglasses (and regular glasses!) have 100% UV protection is crucial to the safety of their eyes.

"Children are more at risk for retinal damage from UV rays because their pupils are larger and the lens inside the eye is clearer, which enables more absorption of UV radiation into the eye."1


UVA rays account for 95% of UV radiation & penetrate through the cornea UVA to the retina.

UVB rays penetrate the ozone layer just enough to be absorbed by the cornea & lens.


Similar to an egg white when you add heat, lens proteins turn white with chronic UV exposure.

"UV light causes oxidation of Vitamin C in the lens, and the products of that oxidation chemically react with the lens proteins to cause cataracts."2


Cells in the inner portion of the crystalline lens of our eyes are some of the only cells in your body that last a lifetime! The same cells that develop in the womb will still be in your eye when you are 95.

Similar to an onion, the lens of our eye adds layers of new cells, but the older cells still remain - that's why it is essential to protect them!

"Years of overexposure can lead to cancer of the eye or eyelid. It has also been linked to an increased risk later in life for cataracts, a clouding of the lens of the eye, and macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in adults. About half of Americans have lighter colored eyes that make them more susceptible to UV-related damage."3


Make sure to verify the UV protection level on when purchasing inexpensive kids sunglasses! Those cute sunnies from the dollar section at Target may have proper UV protection, but on they chance that they do not they could actually be MORE harmful to your child's eyes. The tint causes the pupil to dilate more, which allows more UV rays to enter the eye. Without proper protection, these UV rays are being absorbed into your kiddo's eyes with a lasting effect!

"Vision experts recommend kids' eyeglasses and kids' sunglasses that block close to 100% of the entire UV spectrum, including UVA rays, which penetrate deep into the eye, and UVB rays, which are mostly absorbed by the cornea and lens."3

TIP: Be especially careful during times of the day where UV exposure is the highest.

"While the skin's risk for sunburn is greatest from 10am-2pm, the risk is greatest to children's eyes from 8am-10am and from 2pm-4pm. At those times, UV rays come from different angles and eyes receive nearly double the amount of UV than during midday hours."3

1Essilor of America
2Ram Nagaraj, Journal of Biological Chemistry
3The Wall Street Journal, Eye Protection from the Sun Especially Important for Kids