Sunglasses! They are now embedded into our lives as a fashion piece, something to buy when you’re going on holidays, camping or to going to a festival. However it’s important to not forget that this important piece of fashion is super important in protecting your eyes. Sunglasses not only assist in preventing skin cancer to the eye area, they also help prevent a number of eye diseases including:
- Cataracts – clouding of your eyes’ clear lenses. They may eventually cause blurred or dimmed vision and tend to get worse over time.
- Macular degeneration – an eye disease that eventually ends with loss of vision
- Pterygium – an annoying and often painful growth on the eyeball
To see more about how UV can cause damage to our eyes see the American Optometric Association’s website. Now a quick look at some features to keep an eye out for when purchasing sunglasses include:
- 5 Best Brands of Sunglasses
- Best UV Protection Sunglasses: Brands To Look For
- What is UV400 Protection?
- UV Light Defined
- Total Protection
- Who’s Most at Risk?
- Sunburned Eyes
- UV, Tint, and Polarization
- UV and Blue Light Blocking
- UV protection
- Protecting your eyes from solar radiation
- Protecting your eyes from shorter-wavelength visible light
- UV Radiation Checklist
- Difference Between Polarized Sunglasses & UV Protection Sunglasses
- Polarized Sunglasses
- UV Protection Sunglasses
- What’s the advantage of UV protection sunglasses？
- Tweetie Glasses – Bone Conduction Use In The 21st Century
- How to buy the best sunglasses
- ABC Health & Wellbeing
- Not just eye candy: which sunglasses protect your eyes?
The best protection for your eyes is going to be shades marked as 100% UV protection. This means that 100% of both UVA and UVB rays will be blocked by your sunglasses. Dermacare Direct provide this simple breakdown describing the differences between the types of UV rays. Glasses that provide this protection may also be labelled as UV400 so make sure your glasses have either of these ratings. Anything less and you are cheating yourself out of protection
For most of us this is a must have when purchasing glasses. Polarized lenses help to block intense light the reflects of flat surfaces. This is especially important when driving or when out on the water. The American Academy of Ophthalmology provides some great information on how polarized lenses work.
5 Best Brands of Sunglasses
SimplySunSafe is here to help identify and inform you about the best sunglasses brands on the market. I have taken the time to thoroughly research the different brands, which styles they offer, compared them, and identified their best features. Check out my list of the 5 best UV protection sunglasses brands to help you get some serious shade for your eyes.
LUENX Products Luenx sunglasses are my personal favorites. They are my pick for best brand of sunglasses for UV protection. Luenx look at sunglasses sa a way for us to freely express and change ourselves. They are a brand that uses high quality materials yet provide fashionable designs at a wallet-friendly price. Not only are they are they a great looking pair of sunglasses but they have features galore. These begin with a 100% UV rating to block those nasty rays, polarized lenses filter out and block glare so you can see clearly all day long. It is built tough with an antioxidant-plated frame that makes them anti-allergy and skin-friendly. They are lovely and light but still strong enough to last. For comfort there are skin friendly nose pads to keep these sitting where they should, no looking over your glasses here! Styles! We have classic wayfarer style, aviators and a retro style. The Aviator style comes in a range or mirrored and non-mirrored options to suit everybody’s style. Wayfarers are available in the classic black in glossy or matte and the retro’s have a black or tortoise frame with splashes of metal that make these look so classy. Mirrored options come in a range of colored lenses while the non-mirrored come in your standard neutral colors. For sizes Luenx have aviators that come in different sizes for men and women so if you don’t fit into standard unisex glasses these will be a great option for you. Each pair of Luenx glasses comes with a glasses cloth, glasses pouch, and a hard case. For great shades you also won’t be breaking the bank as Luenx come in at a mid range budget option. Luenx also have a 30-day money back guarantee meaning you can shop with confidence.
Woodies Products A beach-loving brand that provides sunglasses made from both wood and bamboo. Founded by Cory from Oklahoma. He started Woodies 4 years ago and has sold to over 50,000 customers. The motto of this groovy brand is ‘see you at the beach’ so if you love sand, salt and sun then you should probably get your hands on a pair of these. So to begin with Woodies sunglasses always provide 100% UV Protection and are all polarized. That means you don’t have to worry about picking a style and then checking all the fine print. They have a dark lens to assist with glare as well. So, what about the look and make of Woodies glasses? These won’t fall apart with the stainless-steel, double-spring hinges so these will see you through quite a few summers. Their styles are mostly unisex so you can buy some for your girl and guy friends. This does mean, however, that they are one size only so check to make sure these will fit before committing to your purchase. There are stacks of different styles available in both light and darker wooden tones, zebra wood and even an ebony wood style as well as a few lens options including your standard dark lens, and colored lenses from orange, blue and purple to name a few. Continuing with the summer lovin’ beach vibe each pair of Woodies comes with a guitar pick as well as a carry case and a cleaning cloth. If you are after a gift, Woodies have a few styles that come with something a little ‘extra’ to make it special. The walnut wood wayfarers come with a bamboo tube or wooden display box so they could be an ideal gift if you have any friends that would love these fashionable shades. Woodies glasses are in the mid-range to high budget however these are a really unique statement piece so if you think these are for you then grab a pair or two! Each purchase has a 30-day money back guarantee and they even provide free return shipping, if its warranty you are thinking of then you have a 1 year warranty on manufacturing defects. Oh! And for every pair of sunnies sold, Woodies plants 3 trees so you can rest assured knowing you are giving back to the environment. As Woodies would say ‘see you at the beach’!
3. J+S Vision
J+S Vision Products J+S Vision are serious about protecting your eyes. If you are not into anything too fancy pants and just want a good looking pair of neutral glasses then J+S should be your first stop. What they lack in fashion options they make up for in features and quality. J+S sunglasses have the highest UV protection available and all styles have a polarized lens option. J+S styles include aviators, wayfarers, sports style and a retro cat-eye option so even though they may not have the largest range available they still have an option to suit everybody. I love that about brands, I feel like it means they are super confident in their products and don’t need to have a large range to draw in customers. The J+S aviators are a popular choice with a sturdy but lightweight metal frame with spring loaded legs. For comfort, there are silicone nose pads to keep them on your face and feeling comfy all day long. The aviators are a great choice for anyone interested in leisurely activities like hiking, fishing or lounging around by the pool. It’s not just the leisurely activities J+S cater to, for those who are looking for a sporting glasses J+S have the ones for you. Their sporty options feature a wrap around style lens that will assist in protecting your eyes from not only the sun but also dust and insects too. The lenses are polycarbonate so are durable, lightweight and also have a higher impact resistance than other traditional lens choices. J+S want their customers to get outside and have fun, play ball, go cycling or even rock climbing. J+S provide a 30 day money back guarantee to protect your purchase if you do not fall totally in love with their product and a 1 year warranty on frames and lenses should anything go wrong. Whether its sport or leisure you are into J+S have got you covered and for a reasonable mid range budget you can get your hands on some great sun protection! If you are after the best sunglasses uv protection brand then J+S should be one of your first stops!
SojoS Products SojoS is a fashion forward brand that has perfectly blended sun safety and fashion together to create an amazing range of sunglasses. Their brand name comes from the Spanish word for eyes ‘ojos’. They believe there is a mystery behind everyone’s eyes and their mission is to create gorgeous sunglasses to showcase your mystery. A brand that covers the entire family they stock shades for kids and adults alike. The SojoS range all provide 100% UV protection ensuring the best protection for you and your family. A majority of SojoS sunglasses are not polarized so make sure that if you want this extra feature you double check the description. Frames come in both plastic with integrated nose pads or metal with the metal frames available with soft comfortable notepads that are adjustable on some styles. Either option will have you feeling super comfortable. Each pair of sunglasses come with a soft microfiber glasses pouch and a soft cleaning cloth to keep your glasses in top condition. A lifetime warranty also means that you don’t have to worry about any breakages or faults. The women and mens range feature a number of signature styles SoJos are known for. A huge range of mirror lenses create a funky vibe perfect for festivals, road trips or heading to the beach. If you are looking for something a little different you are spoilt for choice there is everything from oversized square aviators, cat eye styles or retro styles. SojoS don’t hold back on color options either with far too many choices to list here. And for all the parents you will be pleased to know that they also have a whole stack of mini me options for children 3 years and up. Colorful, fashionable and fun you can get matching adults and childrens glasses for those of you who like to twin with your little one. A majority of the kids range have frames that are flexible rubber so they are super safe and won’t break if your child pulls them off their face. SojoS kids range are almost all polarized too! SojoS have been super successful in creating a budget friendly fashion forward sunglasses range.
5. Ray Ban
Ray Ban Products I probably don’t need to say too much as you most likely know the brand name Ray Bans. They are an iconic brand that has been ahead of the fashion game since the 1930’s. Their reputation and quality were the main reasons i had to place them on my best uv protection sunglasses brand list. Famous for their wayfarer and aviator style shades they are seen on celebs and in movies and television shows for years. If you’ve seen Tom Cruise in Risky Business you know Ray Bans. Ray Bans lenses provide only the maximum protection for eyes with a 100% UV rated. Their styles are lightweight, sturdy and durable. Known for their quality, Ray Bans are also famous for their range of neutral colored, but on trend, frames and lenses. They don’t need to be too fancy or appeal to specific activities. Their sunglasses aim to appeal to everyone for a great pair of sunglasses for everyday wear for leisurely activities Ray Bans do come in at the highest end of the budget and are more than likely a splurge or one off purchase. However their unbeatable reputation for the highest standards and quality is what makes them famous. The cost of Ray Bans shades is what placed them as number 5 on my list.
So there we have it, the best uv protection sunglasses brand list. The next time you are on the hunt for some new sunglasses, save yourself some time by checking out the best brands on the market. SimplySunSafe recommends LUENX as the best brand of UV sunglasses. Their styles, price point and features have something for everyone and are my personal choice for the top spot. If you prefer any of the other products the other brands provide then by all means, have a look and see what takes your fancy. It’s important to always make sure your sunglasses fit well, feel comfortable and provide you the protection you were after before heading outside. If there’s another sunglasses brand that you have worn before or prefer please let me know in the comments below and I will check them out and maybe even add them to this list! If instead of the top sunglasses brands you wanted to know the best pair of sunglasses you can check out my picks for the best sunglasses for UV protection.
Best UV Protection Sunglasses: Brands To Look For
The sun gives off two types of harmful rays, UVA (short) and UVB (long). Both of these can cause damage to our skin and eyes. Without proper protection, these rays can cause sunburn and skin cancer. They can also damage our eyes. They can cause cataracts, destroy the retina, cause tissue to form over the surface of the eye, cause macular degeneration, and cancer. One should always wear sunglasses when outdoors, winter/summer, sun or clouds.
When considering sunglasses, one should look for more than a designer name or a fashion statement. Read the label. The label should state, ‘blocks 99-100% of UV rays’, ‘UV absorption up to 400nm’, or ‘meets ANSI UV requirements’. If sunglasses do not meet these requirements, don’t buy them.
For everyday eye protection, Ray-Ban tops the list. This well-known designer offers a multitude of affordable colors and styles for men and women, all of which meet UV protection requirements.
For more designer looks and styles, Lacoste, Smith Optics, Jack Spade, and Carrera offer variety and fashion while protecting against harmful rays. Offering an endless array of stylish frame options, lens sizes, shapes, and colors, you’re sure to find the perfect pair to match your style while ensuring that your eyes are protected.
If you are looking for more sporty shades, WileyX, Nike, and Spy will fill your order. These designers, known for their sports inclined sunglasses, offer durability and comfort with goggle and wrap around styles. They offer ultimate UV protection in a multitude of colors for every exposure and sport to enhance vision and cut glare anytime and anywhere.
For the extreme sport enthusiast, Wiley, ESS, and Bobster blaze the trail. Known for their tactical glasses, they will fill every need for protection, performance, wearability, and style. These glasses are made to stay put in extreme situations and protect eyes from more than the sun.
It is extremely important that children wear sunglasses at all times when outside. Eye damage is cumulative, meaning that it continues to grow as eyes are left unprotected. Starting as babies, protection for the eyes is critical.
Julbo offers a complete line of eye protection sunglasses for babies and children. From infants to teenagers, everyone will find a style and fit to grow with.
The size and fit of sunglasses are as important as the UV protection. Sunglasses should protect as much of the delicate area around the eye as possible. Choosing oversized lenses and wrap around styles will protect more area while allowing less light to filter in from the sides. They should fit snuggly and comfortably, staying on the bridge of the nose. The weight should be balanced between the nose and the ears.
Dark or black lenses do not necessarily block more UV rays. In fact, they can cause the pupil to open wider, allowing more light into the eye if sides are open. Polarized lenses block glare, not UV rays. Brown, orange, or amber lenses block more HEV (high energy visible) rays or blue light.
While sunglasses are made for a variety of specialty functions, all should have sturdy construction, versatility, and give clear vision and UV protection.
While designer brand sunglasses can get a bit pricey, most designers have offerings for under $100. The important thing to remember is that name, style, or color are not as critical as UV protection. There are many less expensive brands that, so long as they meet UV protection requirements, protect the eyes just as well.
There are certainly sunglasses to fit every style, need, and price range. To find your perfect pair, contact us. We offer hundreds of choices for every situation, and will be happy to assist you in finding exactly what you’re looking for.
What is UV400 Protection?
Who doesn’t love the glorious feel of a few rays of sunlight kissing your skin? And, compared to the leathery, Ooompa-Loompa look of sunbaked skin that was the norm in decades past, we’ve gotten a lot smarter about sun protection while enjoying the great outdoors or just running errands in the neighborhood. Everyone knows how important it is to slather on sunscreen, and clothing and hats with sun-protective features also have become more popular. So why aren’t we more careful about our eyes?
Maybe it’s because, unlike wrinkles and sunspots, we can’t see the damage the sun is doing to our eyes. A sunburn looks as painful as it feels, but UV light has to pass through your cornea to the retina and lens to inflict harm. The result? Cataracts, macular degeneration, and eye cancers that can lead to blindness—but don’t typically appear until your 40s or later. And since most sun exposure occurs before you turn 20, it may be too late by the time sunglasses become a regular part of your wardrobe. (But it never hurts to start!)
UV400 protection—which is to nearly 100 percent protection from harmful ultraviolet rays—can protect your precious peepers for a lifetime. Here’s everything you need to know about UV light—and how to choose the right specs with UV400 protection.
UV Light Defined
Ultraviolet, or UV light, is electromagnetic radiation from the sun. We can’t see it, but it penetrates the earth’s atmosphere and reaches your skin and eyes in the form of UVA and UVB waves. These harmful rays can do nasty damage in any season, and there’s no place on earth where you’re immune. Don’t think you’re safe in the shade, either: Wear those sunglasses on overcast days, too, since UV light is coming through even when the sun is hidden behind the clouds.
Investing in sunglasses that are labeled UV400 blocks 99 to 100 percent of UV light. This rating ensures that all light rays with wavelengths up to 400 nanometers, including both UVA and UVB rays, are blocked out. All of Knockaround’s stylish frames styles, from the timeless Premiums to the laid-back Paso Robles to our popular Limited Editions, carry the UV400 rating. The UV protection is built into the lens, so it won’t fade or disappear over time.
Who’s Most at Risk?
Because little ones are usually outside more often than adults, they’re considered high risk for UV damage to their eyes. Knockaround’s Kids Premiums are a solid (and affordable) investment in the future, with fun, downsized frames and sturdy, kid-proof construction that will stand up to just about anything your groms will throw at them. If you spend a lot of time on the water or in snow, those highly reflective surroundings also up your risk.
Finally, while road trips are an awesome way to kick back for some weekend chilling, car windows are another culprit, making UV400 sunglasses an essential piece of gear anytime you hit the road. Whatever adventure or action you have in mind, a pair of sturdy Fort Knocks will hold up.
One eye condition that doesn’t take years of sun exposure to take hold is photokeratitis, which stems from excessive UV light exposure on the cornea. The effects aren’t pretty: pain, redness, blurriness, tearing, and the constant feeling of having sand in your eyes. You might also experience a headache, halos in your field of vision, and twitching eyelids.
Anyone who spends time in the snow and on the water is at risk, but hikers and climbers are even more prone to photokeratitis at altitude, where the thinner atmosphere means higher UV exposure. But fear not: You can easily stay protected in the outdoors with a pair of wrap-around or oversized sunglasses, like Knockaround’s Mile Highs.
UV, Tint, and Polarization
If you fall into one of the high risk groups—and that’s just about all of us at some point during the week—you’ll want to have a pair of sunglasses with polarized lenses at the ready. While polarization doesn’t block UV rays, it will cut down on reflected glare from water, snow, ice, sand, car windows, and even pavement. Polarizing lenses are an option on all of Knockaround’s best sellers and custom frames.
UV and Blue Light Blocking
If you’re like us, you spend many of your daylight hours staring at digital screens. But did you know that the screen you’re looking at, whether it’s a computer, TV, or smartphone, emits a certain kind of blue light that can be damaging to your eyes? That’s why it’s essential to protect your eyes while you’re indoors, too, and Knockaround has just the solution with its specially designed Blue Light Blockers. These hardworking shades have a unique blue- or yellow-tinted lens that helps filter out damaging blue light from all of your screens. As a result, they help reduce digital eye strain, sleep disruption, and possibly the risk of macular degeneration.
Another bonus? Knockaround’s blue-light blockers also come with UV400 protection, which makes for a seamless transition to the outdoors. But they look so cool, with a wide range of colorways and style choices, including our Custom Premiums and Custom Fort Knocks styles, that you’ll have no problem wearing them inside while you knock out some work on your laptop or scroll through your Instagram feed on your smart phone.
Written by Jeff Banowetz for Knockaround
Protecting your eyes from solar radiation
The sun supports life on our planet, but its life-giving rays also pose dangers. The sun’s primary danger is in the form of ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Artificial sources, like welding machines, tanning beds and lasers, can also produce UV radiation.
Most people are aware of how harmful UV radiation is to the skin. However, many may not realize that UV radiation can harm the eyes, and other components of solar radiation can also affect vision.
There are three types of UV radiation. UV-C is absorbed by the ozone layer and does not present any threat. However, UV-A and UV-B radiation can have long- and short-term negative effects on the eyes and vision.
If your eyes are exposed to excessive amounts of UV radiation over a short period of time, you will likely experience photokeratitis. Like a “sunburn of the eye,” photokeratitis can be painful. Its symptoms include red eyes, a foreign body sensation or gritty feeling in the eyes, extreme sensitivity to light and excessive tearing. Fortunately, these symptoms are usually temporary and rarely cause permanent damage to the eyes.
The longer the eyes are exposed to solar radiation, the greater the risk of developing cataracts or macular degeneration later in life. It is not clear how much exposure to solar radiation will cause damage. Therefore, whenever you spend time outdoors, wear quality sunglasses that offer UV protection and a hat or cap with a wide brim. Also, certain contact lenses can provide additional UV protection.
To provide adequate protection for your eyes, sunglasses should:
- block out 99 to 100 percent of both UV-A and UV-B radiation;
- screen out 75 to 90 percent of visible light;
- have lenses that are perfectly matched in color and free of distortion and imperfection; and
- have lenses that are gray for proper color recognition.
If you participate in potentially eye-hazardous outdoor work or sports, your sunglass lenses should be made from polycarbonate or Trivex® material. These lenses provide the most impact resistance.
If you spend a lot of time outdoors in bright sunlight, consider wearing wraparound frames for additional protection from the harmful solar radiation.
Don’t forget protection for children and teenagers. They typically spend more time in the sun than adults.
Protecting your eyes from shorter-wavelength visible light
Chronic exposure to shorter-wavelength visible light (blue and violet light) may also be harmful to the retina. Many digital devices emit this shorter-wavelength visible light.
Blue light is part of the visible light spectrum. The sun emits blue light, as do artificial light sources, such as LEDs, computers and smartphones. Some types of blue light can be beneficial, helping us regulate our bodies’ internal biological clocks.
However, blue-violet light can be harmful to the eyes, specifically the retina. It is a risk factor for the onset of age-related macular degeneration, a deterioration of the part of the retina responsible for sharp, central vision.
A recent study found that Americans spend almost 2 ½ hours on their tablets and smartphones every day. In addition, most offices and stores use fluorescent light bulbs, and LED lights are becoming increasingly popular.
Lenses that absorb harmful blue light but allow beneficial blue light through your lenses are entering the marketplace. You could also apply a special clear coating to traditional lenses to enhance their ability to block these harmful rays while you use computers and smartphones.
UV Radiation Checklist
If you can answer “yes” to one or more of the following questions, you could be at higher risk for harm to the eyes from UV radiation:
|See your doctor of optometry every year for a comprehensive eye examination. It is a good way to monitor your eye health, maintain good vision and keep track of your solar radiation protection needs, as well as advances in eye protection.|
Difference Between Polarized Sunglasses & UV Protection Sunglasses
Did you know that every year 3.2 million people go blind from eye conditions caused by prolonged exposure to UV? People wear sunglasses for all sorts of reasons, but one integral role that shades pay is in protecting the eyes from harmful ultraviolet rays.
You have probably seen many sunglasses described as “polarized,” or offering a certain level of UV protection. But what do these phrases actually mean, and is there a difference between UV sunglasses and polarized glasses?
UV protection protects your eyes from the dangerous rays of the sun while polarized sunglasses eliminate glare. Having ultraviolet protection is crucial while polarization is more of a preference. These two are similar and work the same way but offer different benefits. Polarized glasses do offer better image clarity but do not come with full UV protection.
Tweetie Smart Sunglasses with ultimate UV Protection, SHOP NOW>>
How do polarized sunglasses work?
Polarized lenses have a unique chemical film coating that is specifically designed to reduce glare from intense reflected light, which can interfere with vision. Glare is caused when light from the sun is reflected off of water or a solid surface. Have you ever noticed when you are out at the beach or lake, the glare reflecting off the water causes blurry vision? When light is reflected off of water or solid surfaces, the reflected light shines back at your eye and is magnified which results in a glare.
What’s the advantage of polarized sunglasses？
Polarized lenses filter the light that comes in from different angles and allow you view objects clearly. Without polarized protection, depth perception is reduced, distorted view and color perception occur, and in some cases, you could be temporarily blinded. Polarization is useful for many outdoor activities including driving, extreme sports, water sports, and fishing. Better yet, prescription polarized sunglasses are also an option for anyone who needs corrective eyewear. The biggest benefits of polarized lenses is that it can save your vision!
UV Protection Sunglasses
Too much exposure from the sun’s UV rays has been linked to extensive eye damage. This can include cataracts, pingueculae, macular degeneration, and even sunburns on your cornea. Not only protecting your eyes from the sun, it’s important to wear sunglasses in the shade too as UV rays reflected from buildings and other surfaces are dangerous.
Tips on Buying Sunglasses – The American Optometric Association Suggested
- 99 to 100 percent protection of UVA and UVB rays.
- Screen out 75 to 90 percent of visible light.
- Some contact lenses provide UV protection but they don’t cover your entire eye. Sunglasses are still needed.
- Look for lenses that are gray or brown for proper color recognition.
- Invest in wraparound-style frames because they limit sunlight to your eyes.
What’s the advantage of UV protection sunglasses？
Think of UV protection sunglasses and polarized eyeglasses as sunscreen. UV protection sunglasses are SPF 45 and polarized are SPF 15. Traditional UV lenses are designed to block ultraviolet rays and to reduce the overall brightness of the light reaching your eyes. UV protection lenses are usually sold with a stated level of protection, for example, “100% UVA/UVB protection” and, while this protection is important, traditional UV lenses do not typically reduce glare.
Tweetie Glasses – Bone Conduction Use In The 21st Century
Tweetie‘s smart sunglasses, feature patented advanced bone conduction technology that delivers stereo sound through the ear cartilage. Hear your music and the world around you with open-ear design and premium eye protection.
Tweetie is different from Google smart glasses or any other smart glasses on the market, it is the first Bone Conduction Audio Glasses equipped with head gesture control.
- Switch songs by moving your head left and right
- Adjust volume by turning your head up and down
- Accept, decline & hang up phone call by shaking your head
- Real-time navigation
- Bluetooth connection
- Open-ear design
How to buy the best sunglasses
Most of us know how important sunscreen and hats are for UV protection outdoors, but a decent pair of sunglasses is just as critical. And there’s no shortage of options when it comes to buying new sunnies.
You can splash out on expensive designer shades, grab a pair from your favourite store, or go for some cheapies at your local chemist or service station. But sunglasses are a preventive health product and not all of them are created equal.
This guide will give you advice on what to look for when buying sunglasses. There’s no current review of this product.
Sunglasses offer vital protection
Repeated exposure to UV radiation can cause a number of serious (and seriously icky) eye problems, including cataracts, pterygiums (overgrowth of tissue from the white of the eye onto the cornea), solar keratopathy (cloudiness of the cornea), cancer of the conjunctiva, and skin cancer of the eyelids.
And it’s just as important to protect children’s eyes from the sun with sunglasses (as soon as you can convince them to keep them on); UV exposure in childhood is related to skin problems later in life, and it’s likely to be much the same for eyes.
Sunglass standards and lens categories
Designer frames can cost upwards of $200, but you don’t need to spend a week’s salary for a pair of shades that will protect your eyes from glare and, most importantly, UV rays. As of July, 2019, all sunglasses sold in Australia must be tested and labelled according to the Australian/New Zealand standard AS/NZS 1067.1:2016.
The mandatory standard includes non-prescription sunglasses mounted in a spectacle frame, rimless sunshields and one-piece visors, clip-on and slip-on type sunglasses, children’s sunglasses, fashion spectacles and light tint sunglasses.
When buying sunglasses, look for a lens category of at least 2 or preferably 3. Under AS/NZS 1067.1:2016, sunglasses and fashion spectacles are classified as one of the following:
- Lens category 0: Fashion spectacles These are not sunglasses, as they have a very low ability to reduce sun glare. They provide limited or no UV protection.
- Lens category 1: Fashion spectacles Like category 0 lenses, these are not sunglasses; however, they do provide limited sun glare reduction and some UV protection. Fashion spectacles with category 1 lenses are not suitable for driving at night.
- Lens category 2: Sunglasses These sunglasses provide a medium level of sun glare reduction and good UV protection.
- Lens category 3: Sunglasses These sunglasses provide a high level of sun glare reduction and good level of UV protection.
- Lens category 4: Sunglasses These are special-purpose sunglasses that provide a very high level of sun glare reduction and good UV protection. Never wear them while driving.
When buying sunglasses, look for a lens category of at least 2 or preferably 3
In addition to the five category classifications above, the mandatory standard also covers photochromic lenses, also known as variable tint lenses, which may not be suitable for night driving, depending on their transmittance properties (i.e. their ability to reduce sun glare and level of UV protection).
What to know about buying sunglasses
This style may not always be the most fashionable but they are the safest as they offer more UV protection at the sides of the face (and they do come back into style every once in a while – you’ll be ahead of the trend!).
Don’t be fooled by a dark tint
Dark lenses don’t necessarily provide UV protection.
Polarised lenses are usually more pricey, and do help cut down on glare. But they aren’t necessary unless you spend a lot of time outdoors in high-glare situations, such as on the water.
Sunglasses come at a huge range of price points, from pocket change to hundreds of dollars. It doesn’t matter what you spend – if it complies with the Standard and has a lens category of 2 or 3, they’ll do the job.
ABC Health & Wellbeing
Not just eye candy: which sunglasses protect your eyes?
by Karen Burge
When it comes to sun safety many of us know which hats, clothes and sunscreen offer good protection. But when it comes to our eyes, many of us aren’t so sure of what we need to look out for.
When you dress to go outdoors this summer chances are you will choose a hat, clothes and sunscreen that are going to give you good protection from the sun. But do you give much thought to the sun protection that your eyes need?
While big brand sunglasses may look fabulous, and cost a small fortune, your sunnies should be a good investment in terms of your eye health and not just an expensive fashion accessory.
Your eyes, like your skin, are susceptible to both short term and long term effects of harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation, says Cancer Council Australia’s Skin Cancer Committee chair Louise Baldwin. Every year, some 300 Australians are diagnosed with eye cancer and conjunctival cancer
“The most common short-term impact of UV exposure to the eye is acute photo keratopathy, which is like sunburn of the cornea and can cause inflammation,” she explains.
“Long-term exposure to UV radiation can result in more serious damage to the eyes, including squamous cell cancers on the surface of the eye and skin cancer around the eyes. It can also cause cataracts, damage to the retina and climatic droplet keratopathy (cloudiness of the cornea).”
When it comes to choosing sunnies that are going to best protect your eyes, what matters is the UV radiation-absorbing properties of the plastic material used in the lenses of a pair of sunglass.
“A darker tinted or polarised pair may provide more comfort by reducing glare, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s filtering out more UV radiation,” Baldwin explains.
“Wraparound, close fitting, large-lens sunglasses provide the best protection through reducing direct and reflected UV radiation and glare reaching the eyes. Slapping on a broad-brimmed hat and slopping on some sunscreen will keep your eyes and face even safer.”
Choosing the right pair
When shopping for sunnies, before you look for the price tag there is another tag you do need to focus on the swing tag, which reveals the sun protection factor.
Baldwin says there is a standard (Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 1067:2003) that regulates all sunglasses and fashion spectacles in Australia.
“Of the five categories of lenses (0-4) it’s best to pick a pair with a rating of 2 or above to guarantee sufficient UV protection,” she says.
The Australian Government outlines its five categories which identify sunglasses and specs by how well they perform in certain conditions:
- ‘Lens category 0: Fashion spectacles’ are fashion glasses, not sunglasses, with very limited UV protection.
- ‘Lens Category 1: Fashion spectacles’ only however these provide limited sun glare reduction and UV protection.
- ‘Lens category 2: sunglasses’ provide a medium level of sun glare reduction and good UV protection.
- ‘Lens category 3: sunglasses’ provide a good level of UV protection and a high level of sun glare reduction.
- ‘Lens category 4: sunglasses’ are special purpose sunglasses that provide a very high level of sun glare reduction and good UV protection.
In addition, the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) has also developed an eye protection factor (EPF) where sunglasses that comply with AS/NZS 1067 can be assigned an EPF rating from 1 to 10. Sunglasses with EPF values of 9 and 10 transmit almost no ultraviolet radiation.
But it’s worth noting, while standards have been clearly set out to guide consumers, breaches still occur. In August 2013, NSW Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe announced that of the 236 traders across the state inspected for compliance, 107 (just over 45 per cent) had some type of non-compliant sunglasses on sale.
In good news, if you already have a favourite pair of sunnies that meet the standard but has been through the ringer, rest assured any scratches on the lenses won’t affect the UV protection.
“It could obscure your vision, but it’s nothing to worry about from a sun safety perspective,” Baldwin explains.
Shades for kids
The Cancer Council NSW reports sun exposure in the first 20 years of life can increase your chances of developing eye cancer.
Baldwin says kids’ eyes are particularly sensitive to UV radiation and eye damage, and for that reason it’s best to avoid exposing very young children to the sun’s harmful rays as much as possible.
“A sun protective hat helps protect their eyes and once they’re old enough to manage wearing sunglasses, encourage them to do so whenever UV levels are 3 or above,” she says.
“There are kids and toddler-specific designs on the market too and it’s a healthy habit to develop early in life. Just watch out for sunglasses labelled as ‘toys’ they’re the equivalent of ‘fashion spectacles’ and aren’t going to protect your little one at all.”
Louise Baldwin is chair of Cancer Council Australia’s Skin Cancer Committee. She spoke with Karen Burge.