Importance of UV Protection Glasses and Eyewear

What is UV protection on glasses and why is it important for children? We're sure you've seen those cute little red heart-shaped kids sunglasses 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 offer protection from UV rays?

You read that right: 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. UV protection glasses are important to protect not just children's eyes but also in teens and adults. 

"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


WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN UVA AND UVB RAYS?

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.

"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."2

WHAT CAN BE DONE TO PROTECT OUR CHILDREN'S EYES?

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 glasses] 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

Fun fact: all of our kids glasses and teen glasses offer 100% UV protection.


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