Excessive lifetime exposure to UV radiation has been linked to the development of cataracts and other eye conditions. UV rays aren’t the only potential danger from sunlight. Recently, researchers have suggested that long-term exposure to high-energy visible (HEV) light rays, also called “blue light,” may also cause eye damage over time. In particular, some believe a high lifetime exposure to HEV light may contribute to the development of macular degeneration later in life. Children’s eyes are more susceptible to UV and HEV radiation than adult eyes because the lens inside a child’s eye is less capable of filtering these high-energy rays. This is especially true for young children, so it’s wise for kids to start wearing protective sunglasses outdoors as early in life as possible.

Your child’s exposure to UV rays increases at high altitudes, in tropical locales and in highly reflective environments (such as in a snowfield, on the water or on a sandy beach). Protective sunwear is especially important for kids in these situations.

The level of UV protection has nothing to do with the color of the lenses. As long as your optician certifies that the lenses block 100 percent of the sun’s UV rays, the choice of color and tint density is a matter of personal preference. Most sunglass lenses that block the sun’s HEV rays are amber or copper in color which enhance contrast, a positive feature for outdoor sports and cycling.