Medical Moment: Sunglasses Essential for Children?

Medical Moment: Sunglasses Essential for Children?

Telluride Inside… and Out is proud to feature the Telluride Medical Center’s MEDICAL MOMENT, a weekly column that answers common medical questions in pop culture. Have a question for the doctors? Click here to send.

Dr. Dan Hehir, Chief of Medical Staff, Board Certified in Emergency Medicine

Dr. Dan Hehir, Chief of Medical Staff, Board Certified in Emergency Medicine.


 Dr. Dan Hehir answers this week’s question: Are sunglasses essential for children?


Sun protection for your child must go beyond their skin. Sunlight can be very damaging to eyes and can even cause cataracts and macular degeneration, which local ophthalmologists are reporting in increasingly younger patients.

Your child’s eyes are delicate! Their eyes let in more sunlight than adults and exposure causes more damage, in fact, it’s estimated that 80% of an eye’s lifetime sun exposure occurs before the age of 18.

Eye protection is particularly important living or vacationing at high altitude. In Telluride we lose the benefit of 9000′ of the earth’s atmosphere to help filter harmful rays.

So, yes it is essential that your children wear sunglasses. When buying sunglasses, look for a label that advertises ANSI Z80.3 or UV-400. Then, insist that your child wear them every time they’re in the sun. With any luck, they’ll form good habits that will last a lifetime.


Editor’s note: The Telluride Medical Center is the only 24-hour emergency facility within 65 miles. As a mountain town in a challenging, remote environment, a thriving medical center is vital to our community’s health. 

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