Whether it’s summer, spring, winter, or fall, Las Vegas remains one of the sunniest cities in the United States. All of that extra Vitamin D is surely one of the reasons so many families flock to the desert paradise, but with an average of 3,825 sunny hours on the calendar, it’s imperative that you, and your family, find the right pair of sunglasses for any outdoor excursion.

“For children especially, exposure to bright sunlight can cause irreversible damage at an age when their vision is still developing,” explains Dr. Vivienne Velasco of iFocus Vision Center.

Ultraviolet rays, she says, can reflect of off multiple surfaces – pavement, water, sand, or grass – that children play on, and can cause burns on the surface of the eye or inflammation of the cornea, a condition known as solar keratitis.

Signs of Sunburn on the Eyes

                  1. Inability to open the eyes due to pain
                  2. Red, irritated, or watery eyes
                  3. Increased light sensitivity

“Many of us know how painful a sunburn feels on the skin,” Dr. Velasco adds. “Your eyes can get sunburned too, so sunglasses – on clear and cloudy days – are a must for your child.”

Here are Dr. Velasco’s tips for choosing the best sunglasses for your child.

    1. Find a Reputable Brand and Retailer. 

You can find sunglasses on spinning racks near convenient store cash registers, or even packaged along with a child’s toy. But be wary of these products, as they don’t always offer the protection your child’s eyes need.

“All children should wear lenses that are made of safe material such as polycarbonate or Trivex,” Dr. Velasco says. “Most over-the-counter sunglasses do not indicate what lenses are used and most of the time they are plastic, which are not very durable or safe for children.”

She adds that a reputable sunglasses retailer or eye doctor will be able to point out the right pair of lenses for your child. There are a number of quality sunglasses brands on the market, including Bollé’, which are available at iFocus Vision Center

    1. The Only Numbers That Matter

Dr. Velasco says parents should always look for tags or stickers that say “100% UV Protection” or “UV400.” The latter means the lenses block UVA and UVB wavelengths of up to 400 nanometers. If they don’t have those numbers, she adds, leave them on the rack.

    1. Size Does Matter

Comfort is key, especially when you’re a child. Parents know how easily their kids will slip in and out of clothing that doesn’t fit properly. So, when it comes to sunglasses, Dr. Velasco recommends wide lenses and a quality fit.

“Parents should choose a pair of sunglasses that aren’t too big or too small,” Dr. Velasco says. “When sunglasses are too big, they will fall down their child’s face and expose their eyes to UV rays.

“When they’re too small, they will be too tight behind the ears or on the temple, which will cause discomfort after wear.”

    1. Remember to Accessorize

Sunglasses are just one part of the eye protection ensemble. Dr. Velasco recommends having your child wear a wide-brimmed hat to keep the sunlight from their eyes, and sunscreen is a must. You should also teach your child to take proper care of his or her sunglasses by storing them in a protective case. This will help prevent scratches and damage.

Lastly, it’s important to have the advice of experts on your side when making any decision involving your child’s vision, so don’t hesitate to reach out to your eye care provider with questions.

iFocus Vision Center remains open with strict guidelines in place to protect patients and staff members. Patients with an urgent need are seen by appointment only, and iFocus offers curbside pickup for eyeglasses or contact lens refills. To schedule an appointment, contact us at 702-473-5660.