My mother is an optometric technician, meaning I grew up hearing stories of eyeball injuries every night at the dinner table. Kids being shot with Nerf darts and firecrackers, adults mistaking nail glue for eyedrops and gluing their eyelids shut. (It happens more often than you’d imagine.) Needless to say, I’m an advocate of protective eyewear for both myself and my children, and that includes sunglasses.
Pediatric optometrist Breanne Niebuhr explains the importance of wearing sunglasses from an early age: “Sun exposure is cumulative, and the results of UV damage don’t present themselves until later in life. Cataracts, pinguecula, pterygium, macular degeneration, and even some eye cancers can occur as a result of cumulative UV exposure. Children spend more time outside than adults and have much larger pupils, which makes them both more sensitive to sunlight and allows more UV light to enter their retinas.”