4 Tips for Buying Sunglasses

by Shaun Dreisbach

4 Tips for Buying Sunglasses

Did you know 71% moms don’t insist their kids wear sunglasses?

Sunglasses are as important as sunscreen when it comes to protecting your gang from harmful UV rays, says Andrea Thau, O.D., spokesperson for the American Optometric Association. Children’s eyes don’t have the protective UV filters that adults’ do, so they’re more susceptible to damage. How to pick a pair:

Be on the lookout for real protection. The shades you choose for your kid should block at least 99 percent of UV radiation, as well as 75 to 90 percent of visible light.

Be tough. Opt for polycarbonate lenses, which won’t crack if your kid takes a basketball to the face (it’s the material bulletproof windshields are made of!).

Be willing to spend. Cheapie drugstore sunglasses may do more harm than good. “Their UV claims could be false,” says Thau. And that’s really not good: Without sunglasses, the pupils naturally close in bright sunshine, offering some defense. But behind the shade of poor-quality lenses, they dilate and allow even more light-and radiation-in.

Be a role model. Wear your sunglasses if you want your child to do the same. Then go over-the-top telling her how cool she looks in them. She may tear them off after a bit, but just do your best. (Put a hat on a shades-shy kid to block some of the sun from her peepers.)