As adults, we’re told we need to wear sunglasses when we’re outside. Children are told to wear them, too. But what about babies? Should they wear sunglasses? Why are sunglasses important? Sunglasses protect our eyes from harmful ultraviolet rays. Ultraviolet light is linked to the development of cataracts and macular degeneration, as well as abnormal growth on or around the eye. It is estimated that up to 80 percent of the UV damage done to our eyes in our lifetime occurs by the age of 18. This is because the lenses of babies’ and children’s eyes are so much clearer than adults’. In fact, they can transmit 70 percent more UV rays. Without protection, your young one faces an increased risk of permanent eye damage or disease. “Children’s eyes are especially sensitive to the damaging effects of UV rays,” CEENTA Eye Ancillary Services Manager Jay Russell said. “And while studies show more than 80 percent of parents regularly apply sunscreen to their children, fewer than one in three provide their kids with sunglasses.” What kind of sunglasses should I get my baby? It’s important that any sunglasses you get for your baby block 100 percent of UV rays that may enter their eyes. Ideally, they should have lightweight, polycarbonate lenses, which will not only be comfortable on your baby’s head but are also less likely to break if your child gets rough. We all know babies don’t like to wear things on their faces and will grab at their sunglasses the first chance they get. A strap can comfortably hold them in place, and as long as it’s not too tight, it shouldn’t bother your child. How else can I protect my baby from the sun? Sunglasses are great, but they won’t completely protect your baby’s face from the sun. A wide-brimmed sun hat will give your baby additional sun protection they need. Where can I get sunglasses for my baby? CEENTA’s optical shops have sunglasses for people of all ages. Bring your little one to any of our locations and we’ll fit them with a pair that not only protects their eyes, but looks cute, too. This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your doctor. To make an appointment with a CEENTA eye doctor, call 704-295-3000. You can also schedule an appointment online or through myCEENTAchart.