Protecting your child’s eyes
from the dangers of the sun’s rays
is crucial.

“How many times have you seen a parent wearing sunglasses and holding a small child with no eye protection by the hand!” It may be cliché, but it happens far too frequently!

If we, as adults, wear sunglasses at the slightest hint of sun, why shouldn’t our children wear them?

There are two reasons why this happens: not enough information on the dangers the sun’s rays pose to children and the fact that children may not express the discomfort they feel in the bright sunlight even though their eyes are more vulnerable to the harmful effects of the sun.

Far more than just a fashion accessory, sunglasses, just like sunscreen, are indispensable elements for protecting your infant or toddler against damage from UV rays.

Why should you protect children’s eyes?

Because exposure to ultraviolet rays can cause eye disorders and potentially harm their vision over the long term.

The younger the child, the more the eyes are exposed to risk.

Children’s eyes are more vulnerable:

  • The blinking reflex has not yet been acquired;
  • Their pupils are more dilated and still developing and the light-absorbing surface area is therefore larger;
  • Their eyes have less pigment and therefore less natural protection;
  • Their crystalline lens is more transparent1. Rays can pass through it more easily and do harm to highly-sensitive tissues. The crystalline lens gradually becomes less clear as the years go by. The eye is fully developed by around 12 years of age.

It is therefore extremely important to provide children with good protection from very early on (from the moment their eyes are first exposed to UV rays).

At what age should children start wearing sunglasses ?

At a very early age!

The eyes of a baby are more sensitive, and you should start protecting them as soon as possible. It is estimated that 20 to 30% of total lifetime exposure to the sun occurs before the age of 17. The harmful effects of UV rays on children are greater than for adults because their natural protection is not yet at peak efficiency (in the process of development).

While overexposure of the skin to the sun rapidly triggers a warning sign (sunburn), just because you child is not showing any obvious signs of discomfort doesn’t mean that his or her eyes are not suffering from the harmful effects of the sun!

At what time of the year should you protect children's eyes ?

The sun’s rays can hurt their eyes at any time of the year. While it’s true that the intensity of sunlight varies with the seasons and the hours of daylight, make no mistake: UV rays can hit us even when the weather is gloomy.

The rays of the winter sun, lower in the sky, can slip under a hat, bonnet or baby carriage canopy: they are harmful and good protection is required!

You have to protect children’s eyes all year long !

Can a hat or cap provide the eyes with good protection against the sun ?

It’s certainly better than nothing, but it’s not enough.

A hat or cap mostly protects a child’s head and can provide a bit of relief from bright sunlight. But UV rays are still a deadly enemy and nothing but a good pair of sunglasses can block them.

How do you choose a good pair of sunglasses ?

Here are a few tips to help you.

1. Protection

A. Lenses

For the highest protection, sunglass lenses must be high-quality, that is:

  • Block 100% of UVA and UVB rays;
  • Have a protection rating of 3 or 41;
  • Ensure the natural perception of colours ;
  • Offeroptical precision ;

A Solar Protection Index (SPI) level of 4 absorbs more light than an index level of 3. This provides greater protection for the eyes.

However, low light transmission may have a negative effect on the development of your child’s eyes. You have to strike the right balance between protection and development.

BabyPyke sunglasses are manufactured to EC standards, block 100% of UVA and UVB rays and offer Category 3 protection.

B. Frames that provide full coverage

The frames of your child’s sunglasses should fit the geometry of his or her face. They should span the child’s eye contour to the maximum extent possible to keep the rays of the sun from getting in through the sides.

Make sure the frame snugly fits the geometry of your child’s face around the eyebrows, temples and eye sockets to block the harmful effects of sun glare (snow, sea, sand or asphalt).

Make sure the « CE »conformity mark is on the frame, indicating that the frame meets European standards.

2. Comfort

Until the age of 2 or so, children do not have a nose bridge. A headband system at the back of the head is optimal for comfort and for keeping the frame from falling off your child’s face.

Select a frame that does not cause discomfort around the ears.
Frames resting on the ears for a long periods of time could cause pain and discomfort.

Choose an adjustable frame that will perfectly fit the geometry of your child’s face and one he or she can keep wearing as they grow.

3. Durability

The lenses are made from impact-resistant materials and mounted into the frame during the manufacturing process so that they cannot fall out.
They have an anti-scratch coating and are water repellent, facilitating cleaning and care.

The frame is soft, manufactured from materials selected for their mechanical characteristics of resistance to bending and other risks linked to use by children.

What are the risks of damage
to the eyes if not properly protected?

The risks to which children are exposed without protection are multiple:

Keratitis

Exposure to a high doses of sunlight without protection can cause keratitis in both adults and children. Keratitis is the inflammation of the cornea that can lead to impaired eyesight, tearing and pain when exposed to light.
In a way, it can be considered sunburn of the eye.

Cataracts

A cataract is a total or partial clouding of the lens in the eye. It leads to impaired eyesight and discomfort. Studies tend to show that there are correlations between, on the one hand, exposure to the sun and cataracts and, on the other, wearing sunglasses from a very early age and the slowing of the development of cataracts in adulthood.
It is therefore a good idea to protect the eyes of your children with sunglasses with high-quality sunlenses to mitigate the risks.

Macular degeneration

Exposure of eye without protection can lead to the development of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) late in life. ARMD is a degenerative disorder of the retina characterised by increased blurring of the visual field. One of the recognised risk factors for this disease is exposure to UV rays. This exposure is cumulative. Exposure from an early age is a risk factor and proportionally greater as children’s eyes have less natural protection. In fact, the crystalline lens is transparent until the age of 5 or 6. As a result, it allows 100% of UV rays (UVA & UVB) to pass through.

A few tips for encouraging your child to wear his or her sunglasses

Getting your child to wear his or her sunglasses is a real challenge.

Here are a few tips for helping you through this adventure:

  • Wear sunglasses yourself:children love to imitate adults!
  • If your child wants to play with his/her sunglasses at home, you should say that sunglasses are not toys and show him or her how to care for them: it will be all the easier to get the child to wear them;
  • For children who obstinately refuse to wear sunglasses, make sure the fit is comfortable and run the headband over the cap or hat.

Lastly, remember that a cloudy sky lets more than 90% of UV rays through: protect your child even if the sun is not hitting him or her in the eyes.
(Advice with the help of Marie Thé, an optician)

  1. 95% transparency at birth, 80% at 6 months, 75% at 8 years and 20% at 25 years of age – “ZEISS KidZ Editorial”, p.2., Carl Zeiss Vision Sunlens

The division of lenses into different protective categories (1 to 4) is based on light transmittance (LT). Category 4 lenses must have light transmittance of 8%. The LT of Category 3 lenses ranges from 8 to 18%, BabyPyke lenses have a TL of 9.88%.

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