Expert: Young children need sunglasses too - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Expert: Young children need sunglasses too

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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

While parents often focus on putting sun screen and hats on their kids, many overlook the damage the sun can cause to children's eyes.

Teaching kids to wear sunglasses can protect their vision, and to prevent eye problems.

"It's important to protect your children's eyes from birth. That's why we have baby sunglasses," said Lori Stone, a optician with 20/20 Eyecare in Columbus. "That's why we have brands of contact lenses and glasses with UV protection and more nowadays."

Stone said many parents fail to buy sunglasses for their kids. According to the Vision Council, less than half of parents make or encourage their children to wear their sunglasses.

"Even in the Chattahoochee Valley, you see almost every parent wear sun protection on their eyes at baseball games and whatnot," Stone said. "But you see only a handful of kids with sunglasses on their eyes. You have to protect their eyes since they are still developing."

Children and teenagers are prone to developing eye problems in the long run, and their vision is likely to change faster, because their eyes are not mature yet.

"The reason why we recommend sunglasses for children is because that is when their eyes are truly developing," Stone said. "If they are not getting the best protection at a young age, then they are going to be more prone to eye diseases."

Stone recommended people wear polarized sunglasses to protect their eyes from both UVB and UVA rays.

"All sunglasses are made with UVB protection," Stone said. "However, polarized ones also fight against UVA rays. They may cost a little bit more, but this will help prevent eye diseases, protect vision and your eyelid skin. I know that children do not like to wear hats and sunglasses all the time, but you can help them learn to wear them. Reward them with candy or something small when they keep their sunglasses on when they are outside. They will learn to like them."

Stone said children and even adults need to wear sunglasses even on cloudy, rainy and snowy days.

"You have more exposure to UV radiation in winter than you do in summer," Stone said. "We have more customers buying sunglasses in summer time, but people need to wear them throughout all seasons. You can still get UV radiation on cloudy and rainy days. You also need to wear sunglasses when you are around water, sand and snow, because UV radiation reflects from these surfaces and double the UV ray exposure."

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