While I always lather my girls in sunscreen on a sunny day and make sure leave the house sporting a hat, I’m guilty of not always remembering to pack their sunglasses.
Let’s face it – it can be tough getting little ones out the door in a timely manner–shoes, alone, can take forever to put on. So, why add that extra step?
The truth is,like your child’s skin, their precious peepers also need protection from harmful ultraviolet radiation (UV).
According to Dr. Eva Kalicinsky, our amazing family optometrist and owner of Brookswood Optometry in Langley, direct contact with sunlight can lead to numerous long-term eye health problems down the road for your little one, including cataracts, macular degeneration and skin cancer of the eyelids. And since children often spend more time outdoors than the average adult, they’re exposed to three times the annual adult dose of UV.
In fact, she estimates that up to 80 per cent of a person’s lifetime exposure to damaging UV radiation occurs before age 18.
To help reduce UV radiation damage to your child’s eyes,a great pair of sunglasses are key. In addition to protecting the skin around the eye, they’ll also protect the eye itself, says Dr. Kalicinsky, noting that cheap glasses will save you money but not your child’s eye health.
“It is important to have good quality sunglasses. There are some cheap sunglasses that have a spray on UV coating that can wear off over time. There are also toy sunglasses that are just darkly tinted lenses. When a dark lens is in front of the eye, the pupil is dilates and lets more harmful UV rays in. We have seen patients with glasses like this in our office before. It is scary!”
When it comes to finding the perfect pair of sunglasses for your infant or child, Dr. Kalicinsky says there are two important factors to keep in mind.
“They must have 100% UV protection and fit properly in order for them to stay on and provide the protection they are meant to provide. If they are uncomfortable or heavy, a child will not wear them.”
In addition to a wide selection of glasses for adults, Brookswood Optometry carries popular brands of sunglasses for infants and children, including Baby Banz, which come with attached straps on them so they stay put and Ray Bans for children that are made to copy the most popular styles for adults.
The hottest brand for infants and children is Babiators – non-toxic and BPA free sunglasses.
“The company will even replace them in the first year if they are lost! ” notes Dr. Kalicinsky, who is partnering with SAVM to give away a brand new pair of Babiators to one lucky reader (See Below).
While selecting a pair of glasses is the fun part, ensuring that your infant or child keeps them on isn’t always easy. That’s why it’s important for parents to set a good example at an early age, according to Dr. Kalicinsky.
“It is important for parents to wear sunglasses to set a good example for their children. Make it a habit of putting sunglasses on your child whenever they go outside. If they take them off, keep putting them back on! When the child is old enough, letting them pick their own sunglasses will lead them to wearing them more.”
To learn more about how you can protect your family’s eye health, visit www.brookswoodoptometry.com. Brookswood Optometry is located at 4046 200 Street in Langley.
She’s a Valley Mom is thrilled to partner with Brookswood Optometry to give away a pair of Babiators to one lucky fan — a prize worth approx. $20 plus tax. To enter, simply follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter below. You must be 19 + to enter and be a Canadian resident.