Sunglasses for Kids: Are they really essential?

Kids sunglasses

Summer is officially back and, along with it, so are sunny days and the associated sunburns

Sun protection a go – go, therefore, to protect the skin from the negative effects of UV rays.

But in addition to the epidermis, the eyes must also be protected from the potentially harmful rays of the sun, especially at an early age.

Our eyes are exposed to ultraviolet rays on a daily basis, but the risks involve mainly children and young people, for two simple reasons.

On the one hand, children spend a considerable amount of their time outdoors, and on the other, their eye structures are still in a developmental and growth phase.

For this reason, the use of sunglasses, even better if they are wrap-around, and a hat with a visor should begin in infancy.

Reducing exposure to solar radiation, especially ultraviolet and blue violet, is essential to avoid or delay the appearance of cataracts and macular degeneration in later life.

The Effects of the Sun on Children’s Eyes

Of course, living outdoors is very important for the health of all children, as well as contributing to their complete physical development, including that of the visual system.

Unprotected exposure, as mentioned above, leads to injuries with often serious consequences, which can primarily affect eye health.

In particular, the risk is high in conditions of high glare, which is why children should wear sunglasses not only in the snow, for example, but also when playing near water.

Recent studies also show that only 1 in 10 children between the ages of six and ten use protective lenses, and even when they do wear sunglasses, they often lack CE certification or were not purchased at a specialty store.

Why this dangerous habit?

There is probably a cultural reason for this: to date, sunglasses are considered above all a fashion accessory and linked to the fashions of the moment, and only later are they perceived as a tool for prevention. The situation gets worse if we think of sunglasses accessories dedicated to children. Children’s glasses are often considered as a toy, as well as representing a useless expense, to be postponed to more economically favorable times.

Choosing Sunglasses: No to Aesthetics, Yes to Quality

At the time of purchase you should not focus only on the aesthetic factor, but make sure that the lens has full protection from ultraviolet UVA and UVB rays.

On the market there are three types of lenses: standard, polarized, photochromic. As for children, it is useful to know that polarized lenses also filter reflections and can help not only protect the eye, but also improve visibility, for example on a sunny road, on a reflective surface such as sea water.

Finally, photochromic lenses vary their filtering power depending on the amount of UV present.

Monofocal Lenses vs Progressive Lenses

Monofocal lenses are designed for the correction of simple visual defects, with a single dioptric power, allowing regular vision in all directions. The latter are used to make monofocal glasses suitable for distance vision and reading.

The advancement of technology has made it possible to perfect the design of single vision lenses, so as to ensure a natural and comfortable visual perception.

Their fundamental disadvantage is due to the fact that intermediate and distance vision suffer in terms of sharpness, creating a strong discomfort when performing activities that require different types of visual processes.

In this sense, progressive lenses represent the best answer to the shortcomings of monofocal lenses: it is possible to see from a distance (driving, television, etc.), close up (reading, sewing, etc.) and even at intermediate distances (computers, cooking, etc.), always using the same pair of glasses.

Thanks to their internal geometry in the back of the lens, they offer wider vision and faster adaptation than the progressive lenses of a few years ago.

The structure of the progressive lens is divided into 3 functional zones:

Distance vision – this is the widest area and is located at the top of the lens and is obviously what is used for looking far away.

Intermediate area – is the part of the lens that represents the transition point between far and near and is also the narrowest area.

Near vision – covers a rather large part of the lens about 20% and is the part that is used for near vision.

Progressive lenses and technological evolution

The market diffusion of the first progressive lenses started around the 1950s, with a definite development in the following years.
The power progression of these lenses was made on the front of the lens and there was no intermediate vision zone, passing in a quite brutal way from far to near.

At the beginning of the 70’s the technological evolution in the optical field introduced on the market second generation progressive lenses with a real progressive focusing power.

We will have to wait until the 80s to see on the market the first asymmetric progressive lenses, with a correction of defects in the intermediate distances.

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