What makes a great pair of sunglasses?

Hilton Langenhoven won gold in the long jump at the Paralympic games. He is a South African athlete and 3-time Paralympic champion who just so happens to have albinism. I noticed in a picture of him carrying his countries flag that he had some awesome sunglasses on and it started to make me think about what makes a great pair of sunglasses. This is a pretty valid question for any person but especially persons with albinism.

These days I can barely go outside at any time of year in full sunlight without wearing sunglasses and I don’t have photophobia. The bright sunlight is too much for me, which makes driving a challenge due to all the squinting.  I compiled a quick list of the top things you should be looking for when buying a pair of sunglasses for you and your children:

  • The fit is important if the fit is wrong UV rays can seep into your eyes and the skin surrounding them.  The lenses should not touch the eyelashes (this is a real problem with kids sunglasses), the frames should not sit way out on the nose and it should line up with your brow. Good fitting sunglasses can also keep out sand and allergens from the eyes.
  • Polarized glasses reduce the glare at the beach, in the snow or out of the water but don’t take the place of the UV protection on their own. They do make it hard to see computer screens, smart phones or dashboards. I cannot live without my polarized glasses, best purchase ever.
  • Don’t be fooled by dark lenses as it doesn’t mean it blocks UV rays. Your pupil controls how much light gets in and when you wear darkened lenses, the pupil opens to let more light in, if your sunglasses aren’t rated to block UV rays, you might let even more light into the back of your eye.
  • Sunglasses should block 99 to 100% of UVA and UVB rays if it doesn’t don’t buy them. Too much UV light can cause cataracts, can destroy the retina and it can even cause tissue to grow over your eyeball.

    Cheap sunglasses doesn’t necessarily mean poor quality but expensive glasses doesn’t necessarily mean better, Beaba, Babybanz, My first Julbo’s and Babiators are some of the sunglasses that have great reviews for children. I think Nash does so well in his glasses because I constantly had him wearing sunglasses very early on, we have tried the Babybanz, the Babiators and My first Julbo’s and he seems to prefer the Babiators they also don’t squish his extraordinary long eyelashes like some of them do. I can say that I haven’t found the perfect pair of sunglasses for him yet if there is such a thing.

    Children with albinism may benefit from a permanent tint in their prescription eyeglasses that is light enough to function indoors. Children with albinism may also benefit from photochromic lenses. These lenses darken to a grey or brown shade when in sunlight and automatically lighten back to clear indoors. I have read conflicting reviews on just how beneficial these are due to the fact that they are activated by the sun’s ultraviolet radiation. A person with albinism will still be affected by glare and bright sunlight even when the ultraviolet radiation may be low.

    Well, who knows maybe one day Nash will be an Olympic medalist (no pressure kid). I think perhaps musical genius since he runs around the house humming his Abc’s, the kid can barely string two words together so I find it pretty impressive, although let’s face it I am biased. I do know one thing for sure this kid won’t be short of a pair of sunglasses.

    Featured Image – black and white image of Nash wearing a white long-sleeved t-shirt and a pair of black Babiators in a gazebo at the park, he is looking at the camera.


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