Experts: Sunglasses as important as sunblock for children

Look for UVA, UVB protection

INDIANAPOLIS - As summer quickly approaches, experts warn parents that sunglasses are just as important as sunscreen for children.

Many parents remember the sunscreen, but often forget the sunglasses.

Ophthalmologist Frances Cosgrove said protecting kids’ eyes from the sun now could keep them from getting cataracts and macular degeneration later in life.

Cosgrove warned that not all glasses are the same.

“A lot of people think that darker lenses will protect you more. That is not necessarily the case. What you’re looking for when you get sunglasses are glasses that block both UVA and UVB rays. You’ll also want them to say 99 to 100 percent protection from those rays,” Cosgrove said.

Dark glasses without that protection might actually dilate your eyes, which could cause more damage down the line.

Cosgrove said parents should start protecting their children’s eyes as soon as possible, and she recommends caps or wide-brimmed hats if the kids are too young for sunglasses.

“When it’s really bright and sunny, we like to make sure they have sunglasses so their eyes stay healthy,” said dad Adam Amick. “It’s very tricky because they don’t like keeping them on and then they always get smudges on them so you’re constantly cleaning them.”

Ophthalmologists said it’s important that kids start protecting their eyes early so that wearing sunglasses will become a lifelong habit.

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