Why kids should wear sunglasses

Sunglasses are more than just a cool fashion accessory – if the right ones are worn, they will keep your kids’ eyes protected from sun damage.

Eyes are 10 times more sensitive to UV light than skin – and it’s kids who are most at risk, because younger eyes have larger pupils and clearer lenses, allowing up to 70 percent more UV light to reach the retinas than an adult’s eyes, says the UK charity Eyecare Trust.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), childrens’ eyes are more sensitive to UV absorption and up to 80 percent of a person’s lifetime exposure to UV will occur before the age of 18.

Sun damage to the eye is linked to serious problems such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which is the leading cause of irreversible blindness in the industrial world, as well as cataracts (cloudiness of the lens) and pterygia (benign growths on the white of the eye, which can end up blocking vision).

Research has also found that spending five or more hours outside every day in the summer during your teens and early adult years could increase the risk of developing AMD by up to 50 percent. Apparently those with light-coloured eyes are particularly at risk because the less pigment in the iris means more sensitivity to UV.

Which sunglasses are best?

Cancer Society recommends sunglasses that:

  • are close-fitting
  • wrap around and cover as much of the eye area as possible
  • meet the Australia/New Zealand Standard for Sunglasses and fashion spectacles AS/NZS 1067:2003 for sunglasses

Ideally, any sunglasses for kids should bear an EPF (eye protection factor) of 10, which means they exceed the requirements of the Australian standard and may provide even greater protection.

Sunglasses also have a numerical category from 1 to 4 – with 4 being the best. Good quality sunglasses provide the eyes with substantial protection against the sun. The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) recommends buying sunglasses that protect against ultraviolet radiation (UVR); sunglasses rated 2 to 4 provide good UV protection.

It is the UVR-absorbing properties of the lenses that provides the protection and not the colour of the lenses – so dark sunglasses are not necessarily more effective at protecting the eyes from UVR than lightly tinted sunglasses.

It is recommended that sunglasses are worn most days when outdoors, even when it’s cloudy, because water, sand, the snow and even the footpath reflect UV rays, increasing the amount reaching your eyes and skin.

The Cancer Society also advises that a broad-brimmed hat can reduce the amount of UVR reaching the eyes by around 50 percent.



  1. SarahBlair 31/12/2017 at 6:22 pm

    I knew that it was a good idea to put sunglasses on your littlies but I didn’t know how important it really is! Especially with all of my blue eyed babies!! I will be getting some for all of my kids!

  2. Angelgirl081 30/12/2017 at 9:39 am

    So important and good to know. Unfortunately in our house we seem to have a sunglasses black hole and every pair I buy myself and my kids seems to be lost within a month. Very frustrating.

  3. felicity beets 28/12/2017 at 6:05 pm

    Interesting article as i had never really thought about young children needing to wear sunglasses- but does make sense. lucky there are lots of fashionable kids sunglasses which kids should want to wear.

  4. Mands1980 10/12/2017 at 10:00 am

    I wear my glasses all the time but never realised how important it was for kids to wear them all the time

  5. Shorrty4life1 07/12/2017 at 1:59 pm

    I have found this a very interesting read. I myself always forget about sunglasses. We always wear our sunblock but it’s one thing we all haven’t got. Thinking I may need to invest in sunglasses for the whole family as this read puts it all into perspective and I don’t want my childrens eyes failing on them

  6. Bevik1971 07/12/2017 at 11:27 am

    Our 5 year old wears sunglasses a lot – she actually has about 3 pairs (lost a couple, bought new ones then the old ones resurfaced haha). But good to have a pair in the car, she has a pair in her room and her Dad keeps one in his bag. Very important to wear them, I always do (helps wrinkles too lol) and we always wear sunscreen and hats too. I remember as a young ‘un hardly ever putting on sunscreen or hats and getting sunburnt often. Never wore sunglasses either.

  7. MuddledUpMolly 06/12/2017 at 8:24 pm

    This was an important article to read and perfectly timed in light of the excess sun we have been lucky enough to have over the past month. My baby is a tricky one with eye wear but my son I must remind to wear his sunglasses.

  8. Mands1980 20/11/2017 at 6:10 pm

    This does make me realise I need to buy our kids glasses and get them to wear them all the time. As I wear mine all the time as the sun is way to bright so must effect the kids.

  9. kymmage 20/11/2017 at 11:26 am

    We have Baby Banz sunnies and we try to make sure the kids have a wide brimmed hat on too. When they get a little too much sun I feel so guilty about it. I know I should get a UV monitor app for my phone!

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