Sunglasses aren’t just a fashion accessory! They are a part of preventable healthcare! Sunscreen and sunglasses both are a must have for Smart Mamas prepping the kids for the outdoors!
I wear my sunglasses….almost all the time. A recent chat with the The Vision Council reminded me of the importance of wearing my sunglasses all the time. We all know that sun rays cause damage to our skin. We lather up in sunscreen before every pool or beach adventure, or any outdoor activity. We lather up the kids, too. Our kids expect it. They may not like getting sprayed with the sunscreen but they know it’s a must. We’ve engrained this habit since they were tiny. How about eye protection? Do you hand your kids a pair of sunglasses at the same time you protect their skin? You should! According to findings by the Vision Council, while 73% adults use sunglasses only 58% of their children do. The vast majority are wearing sunglasses to protect their eyes from sun damage, but they aren’t doing it for the kids. I’m guilty as charged. We have at least a dozen pairs of kid sunglasses around this house. These glasses are used primarily for dress-up occasions. A pair of heels, a princess dress, pink boa and a pair of sparkly princess sunglasses is an outfit of choice some afternoons. Yet, when we are heading outdoors to any activity, including the beach or soccer practice the sunglasses stay at home.
Sunglasses aren’t just a fashion accessory. Of course we want to look good when we wear them, but in reality, sunglasses serve a far better purposes than making our outfit look hot. Eyes can get damaged, similar to our skin, with direct exposure to UVA/UVB rays. Eyelids can get burned, chance for early onset cataracts increase and for children it’s even more important as their eye lens is not fully developed until the tween years making damage occur faster than with adults. Dr. Dora Adamopoulos, an optometrist in Alexandria, Va., and mother of two, explained that, “even a small amount of unprotected exposure is dangerous. UV exposure adds up over time and can lead to serious health problems as you and your children age. That’s why it’s increasingly important to have sunglasses handy at all times.” Friends keep a sunglass bowl near the front door, to make grabbing the shades easier! What do you do to keep sunglasses handy at home?
Sparkly Princess sunglasses might be the fashion statement your little girl wants, but, there are other non-glamorous aspects to consider before heading to the eye glass store to purchase your children quality sunglasses. Jamie Shyer, a chairman to The Vision Council and COO of his family-owned fashion eyeglass frame supplier, Zyloware Eyewear suggested, for little ones who aren’t so keen on wearing the sunglasses, to “buy an inexpensive pair of sunglasses and outfit their favorite stuffed animals in them. When their favorite friends are being sun-wise, they will be too.” That’s a great way to use the inexpensive sunglasses that often come in goodie bags.
Based on the conversation with Dr. Dora Adamopoulos and Mr. Shyer, I have put together 4 recommendations the should be considered by Smart Mamas before they head to the sunglass store:
- Vision insurance may offer a discount. Sunglasses aren’t typically covered in vision insurance, especially for those who do not wear traditional glasses, but discounts may be available. Call your insurance company and find out how you can save money!
- When looking at sunglasses, be sure a little sticker or tag on the lens shows compliance with criteria set by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). The label “UV 380” covers all UVA and UVB rays. Street vendors often use fraudulent stickers, so be sure you are purchasing the sunglasses from a reputable vendor. It was necessary for the CPSC to recall sunglasses sold at discount “dollar” stores because of lead-based paint!
- The sun shines bright at soccer so eyes should be protected there too! Look for impact-resistant frames. A vision store will carry these.
- Try on the sunglasses that you’re about to purchase for your children. Cheaper brands may have a distorted lens or scratches. Also, from time to time, try them on to see if there are scratches.
I hope these tips inspire you to put the attention to eye care as you do to skin care when heading outside. It’s a Smart Mama move! Head over to MissingSunglasses.com for useful information on sunglass use.
Disclosure: I received compensation from The Vision Council and The Motherhood as part of my participation in this campaign. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are my own.