Choosing Glasses and Sunglasses

Choosing Glasses and Sunglasses

Different activities children may engage in call for different types of sunglasses to ensure a comfortable fit and maximum protection for their young eyes from UV rays.

Outdoor Leisure/Beach/Pool

UV protection is a necessity at the beach and pool, where exposure to dangerous rays is higher, even on cloudy days. Designs that incorporate plastic and lightweight metal are sturdy and strong, yet completely comfortable during extended wear. To preserve a natural view, try green- and gray-hued lenses, which transmit colors evenly and reduce glare.

Sports

The first consideration when it comes to eye protection during sports is to select and wear eye protection that is rated specifically to withstand the level of impact that is expected to be encountered in that particular sport. This recommended level of impact resistance will determine what kind of lens is most appropriate. The lens descriptions below provide more information and choices on the right lenses for both high-impact and low-impact sports:

In addition to protecting the eyes from impacts, many sports protection glasses also feature technology that blocks UV rays, providing an added element of protection from UV damage. 

High-Impact: For high-impact sports, polycarbonate lenses coupled with nylon frames allow for optimal protection, even under extreme conditions. The combination is virtually shatterproof, but light enough for long wear. Nylon's slight flexibility helps frames withstand pressure and conform to the wearer's face. In addition to wearing protection for their eyes, it is also vitally important for children to wear helmets to protect their heads during high-impact sports. Some helmets incorporate eye protection into the helmet design.

Low Impact: For less intense activities, lenses that use glass or plastic provide more than adequate protection.

The sport you participate in will help you decide what type of sunglasses you need. To help you make that decision, read about specific sports below:

Snow Sports

Lightweight construction, protection and comfort are essential features in protective eyewear. The best sunglasses and goggles for downhill skiing and snowboarding offer all three.

Sunglasses should provide maximum protection against UV rays, a danger on the slopes where light is magnified and reflected by snow. Look for polarized or mirror coatings and amber tints, which are easy on eyes, enhance contrast and minimize glare.

Some goggles can be customized with the prescription, eliminating the need to wear glasses underneath. For long-lasting comfort and reduced eye strain, choose pairs with a wide peripheral view and snug shape. Water-resistant padding will wick away moisture and prevent straps from irritating the scalp, while side vents keep lenses fog free. Frames with removable foam and temples offer the best of both worlds – the superior protection of goggles and unbeatable lightness of sunglasses.

Water Sports

Children involved in water sports will benefit from lightweight sunwear with exceptional clarity. Non-slip materials like rubber temples keep glasses in place, even in extreme heat and wind. Frames that incorporate aluminum, stainless steel or titanium tend to have a slimmer profile and higher resistance to rust.

To shield eyes from wind, water and UV rays, sunglasses should provide ample face coverage. A wraparound design keeps frames from sliding while protective coatings block harmful light. Grip-tip or padded temples cushion the sensitive area above the ears for extended, headache-free wear.

Sunglasses specially made for fishing and boating are often polarized to curb glare and sharpen scenery. Yellow- and brown-tinted lenses boost contrast and depth perception to enhance your experience on the water. 

Swimming

Most swimming goggles have lenses that already include treatments that provide protection from UV rays. Goggles can even be made with lenses that match the wearer’s prescription needed for vision correction. 

Hiking

UV protection is vital on any trek, but wilderness hikers often wander through shaded areas where sunglasses can be distracting. That’s where flip-up or clip-on sunglasses can be an excellent choice.

Running

Rain or shine, winter or summer, running is a year-round outdoor sport. The right pair of performance sunglasses should offer a combination of UV protection and glare reduction.

To withstand the continual movement and jostling that occur while running, look for sunglasses that fit snugly and have lightweight frames. Non-slip nose pieces and temples are also must-haves to keep your eyewear in place.

Softball, Baseball

When the heat is on, maintain focus on the field or court with sunglasses that don't budge. Full-coverage wrap shades stay put, while silicone nose pads and cable temples prevent slippage on blazing summer days.

Even more important than preventing the shades from slipping is ensuring that the lens itself will hold up if a ball hits the face instead of a glove or racquet. Opt for high-impact-resistant lenses and flexible and durable frames, such as nylon. When playing baseball, helmets should also be worn to protect children from pitches, batted or thrown balls, and bats.

Sunglasses with no-glare coatings repel water, oil and dirt to keep lenses from smudging. Frames should gently grip the face and allow air to circulate around the eyes. For better visual range, select pairs with extra space between the top of the frame and bridge. 

Tinted sunglasses can improve performance by sharpening contrast and depth perception. Gray, brown and amber are helpful hues for field sports where judging distance is key.