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Do babies need 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 beginning to shield your child's eyes from UV as early as possible is a good idea.

In fact, 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 may help reduce the risk of macular degeneration later in life that could cause permanent vision loss.

Also, baby sunglasses should 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.

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.

Besides, baby sunglasses are just so darn cute!

Be sure to visit a knowledgeable optician who has experience fitting sunglasses on babies and small children for the best possible comfort and sizing.

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