Category: Mobile Eye Clinic

Choosing the right type of sunglasses for kids

Jul 21 2016

girl sunglasses

I came across an interesting article on sun protection for children’s eyes recently published in Today’s Parent website. Here is what an Ontario-based optician and mother recommends for children.


Thanks to widespread awareness about the dangers of ultraviolet (UV) rays, most parents are vigilant about protecting kids’ skin with sunblock, hats and clothing. But what’s often left out of the mix is a good pair of sunglasses—and that can spell future vision problems. We asked Yasmeen Syed, a licensed optician, instructor at Seneca College’s optician program and mom of two in Mississauga, Ont., for tips on choosing children’s sunglasses.

Do kids really need sunglasses?
Children are more susceptible to damage from ultraviolet (UV) rays, which can penetrate deep into the eye and increase the onset of problems like macular degeneration, cataracts and surface eye diseases. It’s really important we protect their vision, especially because kids spend lots of time outside and their eyes haven’t fully developed yet. They need sunglasses that protect against 100% of UVA and UVB rays, even on cloudy or overcast days—the rays penetrate through the clouds year-round.

At what age should kids start wearing sunglasses?
I’d say two-and-a-half to three years old. When they’re younger than that, it’s physically difficult to do, but it gets easier as they get older.

Is a wide-brimmed hat a good alternative to sunglasses?
A wide-brimmed hat is a good idea, but it won’t replace sunglasses. The sun will reflect off the sidewalk, sand, water or snow from below, so it’s still getting into their eyes.

Don’t we need sunshine to generate vitamin D?
A little bit of sunlight is good for all of us, but if children are playing outside for extended periods of time, that’s intense, and their eyes need to be protected. Just like we protect our skin with sunscreen, we need to protect our eyes with glasses.

What should parents look for when choosing kids’ sunglasses?
The material of the lenses should be polycarbonate, which is ideal for children: it’s impact-resistant and lighter than standard lenses, and polycarbonate itself is UV protective. A large frame always provides the best protection, with temples that are a little wider to prevent peripheral sun from getting in. Not only does it block the most UV, but it keeps out sand and debris. The frame should be close-fitting and flexible—look for spring hinges that extend beyond 90 degrees, so they’re less likely to break. Kids tend to be rough with their glasses.

What if a kid already wears prescription glasses?
You can get them a second pair with tinted polycarbonate lenses, or you can get photochromic lenses that change from light to dark to avoid having two pairs to keep track of. They won’t replace a good pair of sunglasses, but it’s better than not wearing anything. They do provide full UV protection, but sunglasses tend to be bigger and give you a little more wrap.

How much should parents expect to spend on good-quality children’s sunglasses?
You’re probably looking at about $70 to $140, and prescription lenses will cost more. What you want to avoid is low-quality sunglasses, like those stands of sunglasses at big-box stores. A lot of times, there’s a sticker that says “Blocks UV rays.” Be wary of stuff like that—avoid glasses that don’t specify the percentage of UV blocked. Also, with those cheap sunglasses, the lenses aren’t optometry grade—they might be too thin, or distorted, and your child might not want to wear them because their vision is affected. If you go to the dollar store, you might find glasses imported from who knows where, and they might contain lead in the frame or hinges. They’re not good quality, so you might go through several pairs. It’s better to invest in a good-quality pair and make sure your child’s eyes are protected.

How can parents encourage kids to wear their sunglasses?
It’s important for family members to lead by example. If parents are wearing sunglasses and putting a hat on when they go out in the summer, children are more likely to mimic that behaviour. And let the child have input into choosing the glasses, so they’re committed – they like the style, they helped choose it, they’re excited about it. There’s been a huge burst of children’s glasses coming on the market. Ray-Ban has a new collection, just like the adult version but for kids—which is good, because they’re mimicking what their parents are wearing. You can also use elastic bands to provide a snug fit, so kids can play hands-free and the glasses will stay on.

How did you get your kids to wear their sunglasses?
I make it a rule at my house. When we go outside, everybody has their glasses on. Getting my five-year-old son into that routine was difficult, but he really likes Bruno Mars, who’s always wearing sunglasses and a hat, so I got him the sunglasses, and I had to get him the hat too—it was the look he was after! Now he wears these cute little Ray-Bans and he’s just used to them.

Any tips on preventing kids from losing their sunglasses?
Encourage them to put their sunglasses back in the case when they take them off, and that case should have a spot—in their desk at school, on the console table when they get home, or in their room. If there’s a spot for everything, things are less likely to get lost. You could also put a label with your child’s name inside the temple or on the case.

boy sunglasses

If you wish to read more about this article and other interesting facts on children’s health, please follow this link:

How to choose sunglasses for kids


Have a great summer!

The MEC team

Mobile Eye Clinic – Seniors

Jun 30 2016

Summer has now arrived in full force in the Ottawa region and the MEC is going out into the community to perform eye exams to seniors in retirement homes.

Starting in July, the MEC is visiting the Miramichi Lodge long-term care facility in Pembroke for 3 consecutive days. We were also invited to visit Barrhaven Manor, the Rideau Perley Veterans Center, Symphony Kanata, Extendicare Laurier Manor, Park Place Retirement home, Unitarian House, Camilla Gardens, Chartwell Lord Landsdowne, and Harmer House.

We are also excited to start a new partnership with Dr. Ampreet Singh, optometrist from 20/20 Eye Care out of Mississauga, ON.

New updates and data from the clinics will be posted on the CCB website throughout the summer months. Check back regularly for new information on our next MEC visits.


Have a wonderful summer!

The MEC team

MEC @ St. Patrick Catholic School in Rockland

Jun 03 2016

The MEC team is headed to Rockland, on June 10 and 17, to perform eye exams for the students of St. Patrick Catholic School. This is a 2nd visit to St. Patrick for the MEC and we are looking forward to see all the students, staff, and parents!


MEC update – Spring 2016

Jun 03 2016

These past few months have been quite busy for the Mobile Eye Clinic team. We have performed eye exams to 197 students at three Ottawa area schools.

The MEC attended these three schools:

Severn Avenue Public School – 85 students examined

W.E. Gowling Public School – 84 students examined

Cambridge Street Public School – 28 students examined


We wish to thank the participation of all the students, staff, school council, and parents! We would also like to thank the much appreciated assistance from the local Lions Club District A4 .

MEC update – Winter 2016

Mar 29 2016


The Mobile Eye Clinic has been quite busy these past few months! The MEC team (CCB staff and Lions Club District A4) has ventured out into the cold and snowy Ottawa weather to perform eye clinics to 5 schools from the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board – that’s 13 clinic days with over 300 students!


We have enjoyed going to Hawthorne Public School for the first time in January and re-visiting the following schools:


– Queen Elizabeth Public School (February)

– Robert E. Wilson Public School (February)

– Connaught Public School (February and March)

– Pinecrest Public School (March)


At schools visited for the second time, we have found students that their vision have had a significant change from the last time we saw them. This confirms one more time the importance for children to have their eyes checked once a year.



District A4