But choose the brand and optometrist with care
Auckland, March 31, 2022
The eye is a filter that improves with age
The front part of the eye, comprising the cornea and the crystalline lens, acts as a natural filter in adults, which absorbs UV (ultraviolet) rays and protects the retina. This filter works perfectly (100%) in filtering UVB rays (wavelength of between 280 to 315 nanometres) and almost completely (98%) for UVA rays (wavelength between 315 and 380 nanometres).
In older adults, the replacement of the crystalline lens by intra-ocular implants (cataract operation) has shown that the crystalline lens has often ‘tanned’ and has to be replaced by a highly protective ‘yellowed’ implant (to cut out UV rays + blue light).
Incomplete child’s filter
A child’s eye is much more vulnerable than an adult’s eye in terms of the sun’s rays. It is in fact an “incomplete” filter, which allows UV rays and blue light through. Some of the UVA rays and all blue light (380 to 500 nanometres) cross through the more transparent crystalline lens and reach the retina.
Babies and very young children, in particular, therefore need extra protection against UV rays, cutting out at 400 nanometres and allowing only a maximum of 8% to pass through, i.e. Category 4 filtration, particularly since they are more exposed to reverberations because they are closer to the ground with reduced or even non-existent mobility.
Sunglasses offer protection only if the light is obliged to pass through them! If the sunglasses do not wrap around the child’s eyes completely, the light gets into the eyes from the sides, or from above or below the sunglasses, and the filter, however efficient it is, is absolutely useless. Wrap-around frames should therefore be chosen for children with a curved base (base 8 or more), a style that has been made popular by sportsmen.
Choosing the right mask
For skiing, for example, children and parents wear a mask with elastic around the head, instead of glasses. The ski mask is highly efficient from the point of view of sun protection because no rays pass through the sides. A mask also guarantees permanent wear by the child. An anti-mist mask should be chosen, with good lenses.
To protect children’s eyes efficiently, choose sunglasses wisely by following these tips:
Look for sunglasses that block UVA and UVB rays – Your child should wear sunglasses that block 99-100% of UV light, and be cautious of low-quality lenses. Sunglasses that are of poor quality can do more harm than good by causing your child’s pupils to dilate and let in more UVA and UVB rays. Ask your Optometrist for a recommendation on the best sunglasses for your child.
Go with a medium tint – While the colour of the lens doesn’t affect the level of UV protection – which is chemically applied to the lens – the tint can make a difference. Lighter lenses don’t offer much comfort in the sun, and lenses that are too dark could make your child’s pupils expand to allow more UV light in their eyes. It’s best to go with a medium tint, but more importantly, make sure the lenses block UV light.
Choose sunglasses with an elastic band – To help prevent loss or damage to your child’s sunglasses, consider frames that come with an elastic band attached to the end of each of the earpieces. However, be aware that the use of a band or cord might pose a choking risk for an unattended infant or toddler.
Purchase impact-resistance lenses with flexible frames – Polycarbonate lenses are up to 10 times more impact-resistant than standard plastic lenses which is helpful for active children who play sports or other outdoor activities. Sunglasses with flexible frames are less likely to break and lead to potential eye or facial injury than a frame that snaps upon impact.
Choose lenses with Crizal Sun X protect for maximum protection against UV rays and superior scratch and smudge protection. Crizal Sun XProtect is a lens coating specially designed for sunglasses, offering complete protection for your eyes and sun lenses.
Awareness and education
Not everyone is aware of the need to protect their eyes from the Sun.
Over 90% of adults are aware of the fact that UV rays attack the skin, but less than 10% know about their effects on the eyes! It is therefore essential to make people aware of the danger of the Sun’s rays to the eyes and the need to protect themselves.
One easy way to keep your little ones protected outside is to avoid the Sun’s peak hours. Try to limit the amount of time spent outdoors between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. when UV light is most intense. And remember that UV radiation is still abundant when it’s cloudy, so stay protected on overcast days too.
When you are having fun in the Sun, keep yourself and your children covered up with clothes, a broad-brimmed hat, Sunscreen, and Sunglasses with UV protection.
Slip on a long-sleeved shirt
Slap on the Sunscreen
Slop on a hat
Seek out shade
Slide on the sunnies
To make the right choice of sunglasses for their children parents can rely on a two-fold guarantee: the Brand, and Advice from your Optometrists.
Kumuda Setty is National Sales & Marketing Manager at Essilor New Zealand based in Henderson, West Auckland. Essilor is a global leader in the ophthalmic industry, committed to providing solutions to correct and protect the visual health of people worldwide.