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Background: The American Academy of Pediatrics cautions against excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation because of known long-term risks for skin cancer and eye disease such as macular degeneration and cataracts. For this reason, the AAP recommends that children wear sunglasses that protect against 97%-100% of UV-A and UV-B rays. In previous studies, many children’s sunglasses failed to provide adequate UV protection and/or had inaccurate labeling; however, these studies were conducted more than 25 years ago. The objective of the present study
Methods: 126 distinct pairs of children’s sunglasses reflecting varying styles/manufacturers were purchased from national retailers in the United States (price range: $1-$32; 94% <$10). UV transmission for the right and left lens of each pair of sunglasses was independently measured using two different calibrated photometers designed for opticians/optometrists: a Vision UV-400 Meter and a Digital Light Meter 4000.
Results: All 126 pairs of sunglasses transmitted 0% UV radiation. No differences were noted between right/left lenses or between the two UV meters. In terms of labeling, 107 pairs (84.9%) stated they provide 100% UV protection, 17 (13.5%) indicated UV protection but no other details, and two (1.6%) had no information regarding UV protection.
Conclusion: In contrast to previous studies of children’s sunglasses, all sunglasses tested blocked 100% of UV radiation and no inaccurate labels were identified. Our results suggest even the least expensive children’s sunglasses now meet the recommended safety criteria for filtering UV radiation and that parents can trust labeling claims regarding UV protection.
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