People ask me fairly often why my daughter wears sunglasses. Is there something wrong with her eyes? No. Does she like to wear them? Not particularly. Is it because it's so cute? That's good incentive, but it's not the main reason. I make her wear them, and she isn't allowed to take them off when we're outside, because I don't want her eyes to be damaged by sunlight.
It's amazing to me; I'll see parents slathering sunscreen on their kids, putting on hats for good measure, and completely neglected those precious jewels. I'm guessing it's mostly out of ignorance, as whenever I explain, people tell me how much sense it makes. Of course they need protection. Many adults put on sunglasses because brightness hurts their own eyes and don't think to put them on children because there's no way for the child to communicate discomfort.
I came by this information when I was still pregnant. I was sitting in the waiting room of an optometrist's office when I heard a doctor bemoaning all the children he was seeing outside without any eye protection. He exclaimed that he would never allow his own children outside without sunglasses, and he wished there were some way to impress upon parents how incredibly important it is to protect little eyes from the sun.
Since then, I've done more research, and the facts can be startling. Children can get sunburned eyes, and the damage done is not completely reversible, as well as being difficult to detect because it isn't always accompanied by pain. Children with blue eyes are especially vulnerable. A hat isn't enough to block from the sun; special sunglasses are required in order to provide complete protection. It is never too early to start protecting your child's eyes, and starting late will still provide some protection, even if it isn't as complete. One of the best ways we can help encourage wearing them is by wearing them ourselves.
There are plenty of places you can get sunglasses for children, so I encourage you to look around. What do you think? Will you be getting sunglasses for your child?