By John Smith, Published February 11, 2015

A little known fact for parents, especially younger parents, is that children must wear sunglasses to protect their eyes from harmful UV. Even on a cloudy day the suns UV index can reach critical levels for children and your child is at risk of permanent damage to their eyesight.

Why is my child at risk?

A child ’s eyes have enlarged pupils and clearer lenses as they develop through to adulthood. According to the Eye Care Trust, big pupils and clearer lenses mean up to 70% more UV light reaches the retina than in an adults eye, with 80% of a lifetimes UV damage being absorbed into the eye by the time a child reaches the age of 18. And if this is not stark warning enough, even short-term exposure to UV put your child at risk from photokeratitis, a sunburn-like condition that can be very painful to your child for up to 48 hours. UV damage is amassed over time and totally irreversible!

My parents are fine and they never wore sunglasses as a child, why?

The average age of death in the UK is now 81.5 years (World Bank, 2012) increasing yearly as medication and technology improves life expectancy, great news! Unfortunately one in three people aged over 65 years currently suffers from age-related macular degeneration, a clouding of the eyes lens which can lead to permanent sight loss, not so great! The simple reason for this is that previous generations never protected their eyes, never wore sunglasses as a child and now these age groups are living upwards of 81.5 years with one in three spending a large proportion of their senior lives with clouded vision or even blindness.

How can I protect my child from UV damage?

The message for parents is simple: ’protect it now, or lose it later ’, children must be wearing UV protective lenses. There are countless kids sunglasses on the market at varying prices but it is most important to ensure the lenses have at least 99% protection against UVA and UVB. Polarized lenses are also an advantage, especially on the beach or around water, as there is a lot of reflective glare and standard lenses will not filter polarized light.

Don ’t be fooled into using toy sunglasses

Toy sunglasses, such as those that offer less than 99% UVA and UVB protection, can actually cause more damage than wearing no sunglasses at all. The issue is in the tint on the fake lens, this tint means more damaging UV light penetrates the eye as the tinted lens actually dilates the pupil and without a protective barrier a greater level of UV damage is received.


Buy a pair of genuine kids sunglasses and give your children the protection they need. A polarized lens will offer a greater level of protection over non-polarized lenses and try to opt for a wrap style that minimises peripheral light from getting to the eyes. If your child is young, look for sunglasses with a band or strap that deters the child from pulling the eyewear off their face and if you can afford it, buy a brand that your child will be proud to wear thus encouraging a greater duration of use.

UK parents risk permanent damage to their kids eyesight

Disney D0103

Disney D0103 with strap

The perfect sunglasses for toddlers, these wonderful Disney sunglasses are polarized and come supplied with built in strap for extra stability, 100% UV protection.

Ray-Ban Junior RB9054S

Ray-Ban Junior RB9054S

100% UV protection from these awesome Ray-Ban Junior sunglasses that will look cool and protect your childs eyes from harmful UV.

Disney D0111 Sunglasses for Kids

Disney D0111 Wrap-around

Polarized and 100% UV these Disney sunglasses feature a wrap around style that offers the ultimate protection for your childs eyes.