Edwin Y. Endo, OD Optometrists, Eye Doctors Of Honolulu

Leading Provider in Professional Optometry Eye Care and highly regarded establishment offering state of the art Practice & progressive Vision eye exams with Excellence. The Art of Caring.

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 open=National Sunglasses Day serves as a reminder that sunglasses are a major health necessity – regardless of whether it’s sunny or cloudy, warm or cold – and spread the word that sunglasses and other UV-protective eyewear are key to protecting long-term eye health.




UV and Children

Ultraviolet (UV) Light – The Damaging Effect on Young Eyes

Children receive more annual sun exposure than adults because many of their activities are outdoor-based, including school recess, sports and playtime. This increased exposure to sunlight also increases children’s exposure to damaging ultraviolet (UV) light – an invisible, electromagnetic radiation emitted by the sun. Children’s eyes differ from adults’ in that children’s ocular lenses cannot filter UV light and prevent it from reaching their retinas as effectively as can adults’ ocular lenses. This results in children’s retinas being exposed to more UV light and susceptible to retinal damage if they are not adequately protected.

Excessive exposure to UV light can lead to both short-term and long-term eye problems. In the short-term, exposure can result in bloodshot, swollen eyes and a hyper-sensitivity to light. In extreme cases, this exposure can present itself as photokeratitis – which is sunburn of the eye. Photokeratitis can be so severe that it leads to vision loss for up to 48 hours, which can be terrifying for both the parent and the child, but its symptoms will gradually fade and vision will return.

Because UV exposure is cumulative, it is important to begin protection at an early age. Over a lifetime, damage from unprotected exposure to UV rayscan lead to eye diseases and conditions that will affect the health of the eyes and vision. Unlike the short-term problems caused by UV rays the long-term damage caused by repeated overexposure will not fade as the symptoms and conditions caused by repeated overexposure appear over a longer period of time.

Click here to download UV Damage and Children: Signs, Symptoms and Prevention Tools to learn how to best protect children’s eyes from UV rays.

Protection Against UV Exposure

Fortunately, the solution for protecting children’s eyes from UV exposure and damage is an easy one – outfit them with sunglasses that filter out both UVA and UVB light, and make sure they wear them. Wearing hats and playing in shaded areas help reduce UV exposure, but are not a substitute for the protection achieved by wearing sunglasses because UV rays can reflect off of a variety of surfaces.

Choosing Sunglasses for Children

Two of the most important features parents should look for when purchasing sunglasses for their children are sunglasses that are comfortable and a style that the child likes, because if either of these characteristics are missing, children will not wear the sunglasses or be protected from UV exposure. Another suggestion is to bring children along on the shopping trip so they can feel like they have a voice in the buying decision. All of these actions will help increase the likelihood that children will actually wear the sunglasses they are provided.

Here are additional criteria to consider when purchasing children’s sunglasses:

Top Priorities

  • UVA and UVB protection, often designated by a sticker or label
  • Shop at a credible source; do not purchase from street vendors or online auction sites
  • Comfort, comfort, comfort

Other Considerations

  • Price does not necessarily indicate quality. For children who are more apt to lose their sunglasses, consider purchasing multiple inexpensive pairs to replace lost ones
  • Gray lenses absorb all colors equally and may be a good option for younger children who are still learning how to associate natural colors
  • UV-protective goggles can protect eyes from direct and reflected UV rays

What Not To Do

  • Hats should never be used in place of sunglasses; especially baseball caps which don’t offer peripheral protection
  • Dressing up sunglasses can be fun but limit decorations; don’t let children draw on glasses or place stickers on the lenses. This can scratch the UV protective layer
  • Toy or costume sunglasses are not a supplement to the real thing; they do not have UV protection and can easily shatter or warp, causing more harm to the eye

Sunglass Options

Given the harm that the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can do to the eyes, it is essential that adults and children wear proper eye protection while outside – regardless of the season. Sunglasses continue to be the most effective tool for preventing immediate and long-term UV eye damage. The right pair of sunglasses will block UVA and UVB light – as indicated by a sticker or label on the glasses verifying UV protection.

Consumers today have several options when it comes to eyewear. Anti-reflective coatings and UV treatments can be added to both sides of prescription lenses for daily protection, and a wide range of prescription sunglasses are available.

Non-prescription sunglasses come in a variety of lens and frame options. Different lenses can enhance visual contrast during particular activities, such as driving, golfing, skiing and boating.

Lens Options

  • Anti-Reflective: Dramatically reduce distracting reflections, improving contrast and comfort in difficult lighting situations
  • Impact Resistant: Lenses sold in the U.S. must be capable of withstanding impact testing
  • Mirror Coated: Reflect light across a wide spectrum, including infrared or heat rays
  • Photochromic: Automatically darken and lighten to provide the proper level of protection and comfort in varied lighting conditions
  • Polarized: Filter out reflected glare from shiny surfaces (i.e. water, pavement and dashboards) and improve contrast and visibility, while reducing squinting and eye strain
  • Wraparound: Shaped to keep light from entering the eye at various angles
  • Scratch Resistant: Significantly durable and minimize abrasions

Other eyewear options can help maximize UV protection. Most swim goggles, for instance, have UV coatings that protect against exposure from water-reflected sunlight. Certain brands of contacts may also offer UV protection, though contacts alone are not sufficient. Contacts should be worn in combination with sunglasses to shield all parts of the eye from UV rays.

Frame Options

Comfort is Key: Choosing frames that are comfortable to wear for long periods of time is essential when picking out a new pair of sunglasses. It goes without saying that if the sunglasses don’t fit well, they won’t be worn. This is especially true when choosing frames for specific outdoor activities, such as running, skiing, playing outdoor sports, etc., so individuals should talk to their eyecare provider about their sunwear needs to ensure they find the right frames.

Opposites Attract: A good rule of thumb to follow when picking out a pair of frames is to choose a silhouette that is the opposite of and in proportion to the face shape. See below for a few tips:

  • Heart – Choose slightly rounded frames that dip between the eyes to break up a wider forehead. Frame suggestions include: aviators, butterfly styles and rimless options;
  • Oblong – Choose deep frames to minimalize facial length, as wide oversized shapes bring proportion to the face: Frames suggestions include: oversized styles and wraparound profiles;
  • Round – Choose slightly angular frames that will create a narrowing effect. Frames suggestions include: rectangles, squares and sporty or squared-off retro styles;
  • Oval – Choose a size that’s in proportion to the face. Frame suggestions include: pretty much anything! Ovals should have fun and play around with classic silhouettes or trendy shapes;
  • Square – Choose round, oval or curved frames to soften the face and jaw line. Frame suggestions include: rounded or oval Jackie O-inspired styles, cat-eyes and semi-rimless frames with soft curves.

Create a Sunwear Wardrobe: Sunwear is not only a health necessity, but a great fashion accessory. Popping on a pair of sunnies can pull an outfit together in an instant, or turn a go-to ensemble in a completely different look. Having an arsenal of stylish frames to rotate through is a great way to have fun with outfits.

Tap into Today’s Trends: Still unsure of where to start looking for the perfect shades? Take a look at the latest runway styles for inspiration. Check out for the latest in eyewear trends, plus more tips and tricks for finding must-have sunglasses.

Maui Jim Sunglasses