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Do babies need sunglasses?

Baby on the beach, wearing sunglasses.

Are "baby sunglasses" just a fad or do babies really need sunglasses?

Yes, you definitely should protect your infant's or young child's eyes from the sun with baby sunglasses that provide 100 percent UV protection.

Most long-term damage to our eyes from UV rays is related to cumulative exposure — how much our eyes are exposed to sunlight and other UV radiation sources over the course of our lifetime. So, it’s wise to start protecting your child's eyes from UV as early in life as possible.

Also, the lens inside a baby's eye allows more solar radiation to pass through it and reach the retina than the lens of an adult eye. Making sure your baby wears sunglasses that block 100 percent UV and also protect her eyes from high-energy visible blue light may help reduce the risk of macular degeneration later in life that could cause permanent vision loss.

Baby sunglasses should also include lightweight polycarbonate lenses for comfort and superior impact resistance.

To protect your child's delicate facial skin from the sun, it's a good idea to also purchase a sun hat with a wide brim for your baby to wear outdoors. A wide-brimmed hat also will reduce the amount of UV rays that the eyes.

It's certainly better to be safe than sorry when it comes to eye health — even if the payoff of purchasing baby sunglasses for your child may not be apparent for decades to come.

Consult your eye doctor to choose the best sunglasses for your baby or young child to give them a lifetime of good vision.

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