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Health Watch: Sunglasses Important For Children

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The summer heat has many children playing outdoors. Parents typically remember to lather up their little ones with sunscreen, but there's something else they should be wearing too. 3 On Your Side Health Reporter Stephanie Stahl has more.

Sunglasses protect the eyes against harmful UV rays. And they may be even more important for your child. Early exposure to dangerous rays can have detrimental effects later in life.

Little Matthew loves to wear his sunglasses outside in the sun.

"It's very, very bright, staring into the sun. I'm sure it's harmful to their eyes. I would just rather have them protect their eyes," said Nicki Gero, a mother.

Doctors say children's eyes, especially under the age of 10, are extra sensitive and more vulnerable to UV rays of the sun. They say kids need sunglasses for protection.

"It's absolutely important. Who wants to be at risk of getting things like cataracts and cancer of the eye and macular degeneration," said Dr. Renee Slade, a Pediatrician.

Parents have a lot of choices when it comes to baby shades. And experts say reading the label before buying a pair is important.

"The rating you want to look for is something that says either 99 or 100% UV protection," said Dr. Slade.

UV-400 also signals a high rating. One thing you shouldn't look for is the color of the lens. UV protection comes from a chemical applied to the lens, not how dark it is.

And as a parent, be sure to set a good example for your children, by wearing your own sunglasses.

"I'd rather be safe than sorry. Bottom line," said Sharon Pieters, a mother.

If your child resists wearing sunglasses, don't push it. A wide brimmed visor or hat is helpful to keep direct sun out of your child's eyes.


Children's Vision Information

Reported by Stephanie Stahl, CBS 3

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