Sunglasses Guide

Sunglasses UV Protection

Sunglasses are not only for fashion purposes. Properly chosen sunglasses will protect your eyes against damage from invisible ultraviolet (UV) rays and bright or intense visible lights. There are also other safety benefits to consider. For example, if you are driving a vehicle in bright sunlight, wearing sunglasses will reduce glare and improve contrast, which improves driver safety.

Unfortunately, not all sunglasses provide equal protection and safety benefits. For example, you cannot tell how much UV protection a pair of sunglasses will provide simply based on their price, colour, or by the darkness of the lenses.

Instead, you must look for a label that lists the type and amount of protection. Manufacturers follow voluntary industry standards when labelling sunglasses, and those that comply with industry standards are grouped into the following three categories:

  • Cosmetic sunglasses have lightly tinted lenses for use in sunlight that is not harsh. They block from 0 to 60 percent of both visible light and UVA rays, and between 87.5 and 95 percent of UVB rays. These glasses are not usually recommended for daylight driving.
  • General purpose sunglasses block from 60 to 92 percent of visible light and UVA rays, and between 95 and 99 percent of UVB rays. These sunglasses are good for driving, and are recommended whenever sunlight is harsh enough to make you squint.
  • Special purpose sunglasses block up to 97 percent of visible light and up to 98.5 percent of UVA rays. They also block at least 99 percent of UVB rays, and are suitable for prolonged sun exposure. These sunglasses are not recommended for driving.

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