Girl wearing Idol Eyes Australia ski goggles

Dangerous kids sunglasses

Today many well-meaning mums and dads are selling baby and children’s sunglasses. They normally fall in love with the cuteness of the product. Unfortunately with little or no optical knowledge they make fatal mistakes in their frame designs and lens quality. Subsequently if your children wear these dangerous sunglasses. They can end up with serious eye damage leading to blindness. This blog will help you to save the sight of your kids. By pointing out what to look for in dangerous kids sunglasses.

Never buy “toy sunglasses”

Note: Toy sunglasses are not covered by any sunglasses standards. Therefore toy sunglasses do not have to comply. Furthermore these toys do not require any UV protection. Also the lens material used in these toy sunglasses is soft and distorted. Subsequently these lenses do scratch easily. Thereby causing blurry vision. And scratched lenses also cause the eye muscle (ciliary muscle) to constantly work to correct the distortion or scratch. Of course this blurred vision caused by the scratched lens is impossible to fix. And this constant over use of the ciliary muscle leads to the early wearing of prescription glasses.

Don’t buy non-labeled sunglasses

Tough sunglasses standards are in most countries. Therefore you would think that this should be enough to stop harmful sunglasses from entering the market. But in most countries these sunglasses standards are self regulated. Consequently it is totally left up to the companies making the sunglasses to do their own testing. And with our random testing. It has shown that many well-known and non-branded baby and children sunglasses being sold. Do not comply with the standards. Many not even tagged correctly with the compulsory standard number for your country. Please do not buy any sunglasses unless they are tagged or have the correct labeling with the sunglasses.

Avoid dangerous kids sunglasses with polarized lenses

Many children’s sunglasses try to improve their image by using polarized lenses. But to keep the price down they resort to using really bad TAC acetate lenses. These cheap, soft polarized lenses do scratch really easy. As well these thin lenses do distort the polarized film. Consequently many customers report that these lenses cause them headaches and eye fatigue. Also due to the distortion and low quality polarized sheet material used in these lenses they only cut as little as 30% of the reflected glare. Worse still the distortion from these lenses leads to major non-reversible eye damage. There after requiring prescription glasses to see.

To find out more please read our blog: Polarized Lenses the good and the bad.

Dangerous kids sunglasses with CAT 4 lenses

Category # 4 lenses without side shields

Due to an error within the EN ISO 12312-1:2013+A1:2015 standard. Some sunglasses will cause major eye problems leading to blindness.

In the EN standard section 11.2 it specifies the Temporal Protective Requirements. Or side shields for cat # 4 very dark special purpose sunglasses. Adult’s sunglasses that include cat # 4 lenses. Do have the side shields sizes and positioning specified. But children’s sunglasses that include cat # 4 lenses. For some unknown reason have been neglected. Having no side shields sizes and positioning included. Only adding the following note. “Note. Children benefit from sunglasses with temporal protection but in the absence of data, no dimensions are published in this edition of the standard.”

Some European brands have misinterpreted this note. Thinking it means children’s sunglasses with cat # 4 lenses do not require temporal or side shields. This is incorrect. On the contrary it should have stated. That “in the absence of data, scale the dimensions to suit“. But in truth the data should have been included. Thereby making it clearly understood that children’s sunglasses with cat # 4 lenses do indeed require temporal protection.

Darker lenses does not mean better quality

Many European brands also promote the myth that the higher the category number or (CAT #) the better the quality. This is false. The category number or (CAT #) is only meant to indicate the intended use for that lens shade. Category numbers or (CAT #) are as follows in the chart:

Categories of lens filters
Categories of lens filters

Cat # 0 and 1 are not sunglasses, as you can see from the chart. Therefore they should never be purchased for your children as these lenses have no sun-glare protection and only limited UV protection.

Even cat # 2 should be avoided as the lenses are still to light to give good sun-glare protection.

Cat # 3 lenses for everyday use. This is our recommendation.

What to look for in dangerous kids sunglasses

Cat # 4 lenses are for special purpose use only. The intended uses of these lenses are for skiing or mountaineering. Or where there are excessive amounts of sun-glare that require very dark tinted lenses. Also these sunglasses do require compulsory side shields.

These lenses are really dark and only allow between 3% and 8% of light to pass. This causes the pupil to dilate (open). And if these sunglasses do not have any side shields the UV radiation enters into a wide open eye causing blindness. Furthermore if your toddler wears these very dark lenses for normal everyday use. They will be unable to see clearly.

Dangerous kids sunglasses Dangerous CAT 4 lens with no side shields.
Dangerous CAT 4 lens with no side shields

This photo is of a child wearing a European brand of sunglasses with cat # 4 lenses and no side shields. You can clearly see just how narrow the temples or arms are. Therefore offering limited side protection from UV rays entering a wide open eye. This model can also be warn upside down. Subsequently his leaves a large gap above the bridge or nose. Therefore allowing UV rays to enter a wide open eye.

If your child or children have a pair of these extremely dangerous sunglasses with cat # 4 lenses and no side shields. Please stop using them. They will only cause major eye problems that will lead to blindness. And never use them on the snow fields or your child will suffer from snow blindness.

UV protection and the EN and USA standards

Both the EU and USA sunglasses standards incorrectly classify UV radiation from 100Nm to 380Nm. The correct UV range is 100Nm to 400Nm. Therefore UV rays between 380nm to 400nm is missing. This missing 20nm actually accounts for 40% of the total UVA radiation. So, when they claim 100% UV protection that simply is not true.

Why is this such a big problem for young kids? Because when the eye is in the dark, like behind a sunglasses lens the pupil will dilate (open). Allowing UV to enter a wide open eye. And as young kids eyes don’t filter UV as well as an adult’s eye the UV radiation can pass all the way to the retina causing problems. Consequently for babies and kids. Both of these standards are just not good enough.

Some European and USA brands have seen this problem of the missing 20nm of UV rays. And then claim their lenses are UV400 or 100% UVA or 100% UVA and B. None of this type of labeling is mentioned in any sunglasses standards so the claims are not checked. And my concerns are:

  1. If the lenses are UV400. At what level of UV do these lenses start cutting UV light?
  2. And if the lenses are 100% UVA. What about UVB?

Remember babies need total UV protection. As they have no chromophores in the eyes that protectively absorbs harmful UV rays. So whenever possible only buy Australian standard sunglasses with 100% UV protection. Always avoid both EU and USA sunglasses for children.

Buy quality kids sunglasses at our online shop

If you are ready to buy the best baby or kids sunglasses that will truly save sight. Without a ridiculously high price, then take a look at our online shop.

Don’t miss the latest sunglasses “WARNINGS” on this page. They will save your child’s eyesight.

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