Idol Eyes Australia blog – All about sunglasses and eyes
Common questions that we receive about baby/kids sunglasses and eyes.
Q1. When should my baby start wearing sunglasses?
All babies should commence wearing good quality sunglasses from birth every time they go outside into the sun. You already know the benefits that good quality sunglasses have in protecting your eyes from harmful UV rays and it is even more important that babies and kids are protected, as babies are born without special UV protective cells within the eye called chromophores. Just take note at the stress your baby endures when they are in the sun. Even with the babies eyelids closed UV rays pass straight through the thin skin and burn your child’s eyes causing cataracts, pterygium, actinic & droplet keratites, pinguecula and macular degeneration, leading to blindness. These nasty eye diseases don’t occur instantly but are caused due to an accumulation of small amounts of damage over many years. One in seven adults over 50 years of age is legally blind in Australia and similar statistics occur world-wide. This is totally preventable just by wearing good quality sunglasses regularly from birth.
Q2. Is it true that babies should only wear sunglasses in the middle of a hot summer day?
False. To fully protect your babies eyes from UV damage, sunglasses need to be worn all year. For example in mid-winter, early or late afternoon the sun is much lower in the sky and is more direct to the eyes causing just as much damage as the midday summer sun. So constant use of sunglasses all year will benefit your child’s eyes greatly.
Q3. Will any sunglasses that pass world standards (AUS/NZ, EU, USA) protect my babies eyes?
No. All 3 major world sunglasses standards are not the same. Here are some of the differences.
- Only the AUS/NZ standard uses the correct UV light range from 200Nm to 400Nm. In both the EU and USA standard they use 200NM to 380Nm as they believe the sun is not as strong as in Australia. The problem is the UV light between 380Nm to 400Nm is actually 40% of the total UV light so for babies without any chromophores in their eyes (like in adult’s eyes) to protect against UV damage they require 100% UV protection.
- The latest EU standard has a major error regarding temporal protection for children’s sunglasses. For all adults sunglasses (used for skiing, mountaineering, etc.) with very dark CAT #4 lenses it is compulsory to have temporal protection (side protection) to eliminate any UV light from entering the eyes from the side causing snow blindness. Children’s sunglasses have been neglected with temporal protection requirements. Many European kids sunglasses brands have CAT #4 lenses without side shields. For young children without any chromophores in their eyes to protect against UV like adults, when they wear these sunglasses the pupil dilates and UV light enters through the sides and into wide open eyes leading to major eye problems later in life, even blindness.
- No world sunglasses standard requires the use of G-15 lens colour. The problem is 10% of boys and 2% of girls are colour blind and using the incorrect colour lenses just compounds their problem. Only Idol Eyes Australia with over 69 years experience in optics understands the importance in making sunglasses that not only protect against UV light but also do not cause problems for colour blind kids. Only a G-15 colour lens is safe for all children, colour blind or not.
Q4. As a young Asian mum my parents don’t recommend me to put sunglasses on my baby, are they correct?
I fully understand your parents concerns regarding sunglasses for babies. Many sunglasses made in Asia today and in the past do not comply with world standards and in the past children wearing inferior sunglasses have had major UV damage caused to their eyes. As can be seen from question 3, even today some sunglasses that do pass world standards can cause major problems. So please follow our complete guide to buying quality children’s sunglasses. Critical points to look for when buying baby – toddler sunglasses. Sunglasses that will protect against harmful UV light damage. The alternative for your baby is to not wear good quality sunglasses from birth to protect the eyes and this will only lead to the increased chance of UV related eye diseases or blindness later in life.
Q5. My baby will not wear sunglasses and just pulls them off, so how do I keep them on?
There are many reasons why a baby will pull the sunglasses off as follows.
- Don’t use hard frames, they are uncomfortable and leave pressure marks on the face. Only use a soft rubber frame, as babies love to be comfortable.
- Don’t use the sunglasses inside as the lenses are too dark to see clearly, worrying the baby.
- Do start your baby wearing sunglasses at an early age. The later you leave it the longer it takes for your youngster to get use to wearing sunglasses.
- Put your sunglasses on first as babies love to copy and always make it fun.
- Babies do not understand the harm UV light can do to their eyes but if you place the sunglasses on them when in the sun they quickly realize that they don’t have to suffer the uncomfortable sunlight shining in their eyes.