Choosing Glasses and Sunglasses

Choosing Glasses and Sunglasses

Protection from the Sun

It is essential to protect children’s eyes outdoors—whether they are out for a short walk or spending an entire afternoon at the park. Lenses that include a UV-blocking treatment prevent damage to the eyes caused by UV light. The UV treatment applied to lenses does not cause them to appear dark or tinted. Rather, the dark or colored tint associated with sunglasses, polarized, photochromic, and tinted lenses is to provide comfort to the eyes.  

Most, but not all, photochromic lenses block UV rays and also transition quickly from clear to dark when exposed to natural light, providing comfort to children’s eyes. Polarized lenses reduce surface glare from water, snow, and roadways, and are ideal for anyone spending a lot of time outdoors. A no-glare treatment applied to the back of sunglass lenses will also eliminate bright reflections when the sun is behind the wearer.

Learn more about choosing the right pair of children’s sunglasses here

Sports Protection

Eye protection is vital during any sport. Whether children participate in a fast-paced game like racquetball, or prefer an outdoor activity such as skiing, proper eyewear can boost their performance and prevent injuries. Children should wear appropriate, sport-specific protective eyewear that fits properly. Here are some helpful tips to consider when choosing protective eyewear:

  • All protective eyewear should meet American Standards for Testing and Materials’ (ASTM) impact standards. 
  • Lenses should be made from polycarbonate materials. They provide the highest level of protection and can withstand the impact from a ball or other projectiles traveling at 90 miles per hour. 
  • Everyday fashion or corrective eyewear does not offer the same protection as protective eyewear labeled for sport use. For example, on impact, the lenses in regular eyeglasses can easily pop out and puncture or cut the eye. Or, a frame damaged by impact could also cause injury.
  • Protective eyewear can be purchased at sporting goods stores as well as at eye care providers’ offices.

Review the list of sports below to help you choose the best options for protecting children’s eyes while they are engaged in that sport:

  • Badminton (sports goggles)
  • Baseball (batting: face guard attached to helmet; fielding: sports goggles)
  • Basketball (sports goggles)
  • Cycling (cycling eyewear)
  • Fencing (full face cage)
  • Field hockey (goalie: face mask; others: sports goggles)
  • Football (face shield attached to helmet)
  • Handball (sports goggles)
  • Ice hockey (helmet with full face protection)
  • Lacrosse — men (helmet and full face protection)
  • Lacrosse — women (minimum: sports goggles; recommended: helmet and full face protection)
  • Racquetball (sports goggles)
  • Shooting sports (shooting glasses)
  • Soccer (sports goggles)
  • Squash (sports goggles)
  • Street hockey (goalie: full face cage; others: sports goggles)
  • Swimming (swim goggles recommended)
  • Tennis — doubles and singles (sports goggles)
  • Water polo (swim goggles recommended)

To learn more about eye protection and sports, click here.