The why, what, how of 100% UV protection sunglasses.


Published on April 21, 2020, 8:53 am

The why, what, how of 100% UV protection sunglasses.

100% UV protection sunglasses are something you must not check out of your place without, when going under the sun even if it's for an insignificant time. Now you might wonder why. And if sunglasses are so critical then which is the best UV protection for sunglasses? Do they come in various types? And how would I know if the pair I bought is a legitimate pair of 100% UV protection sunglasses or not unreal?

We know you may have several things to question. And that’s why we have articulated all the answers here in this article. Get a read. We are sure you will roll out way more acquainted with sunglasses once you see what we have to say. You will know that sunglasses are not just style statements to flaunt and also not just a pair that keeps you from squinting. There are far more things you must know about them for the well being of your eyes. The same eyes that have seen so many years of life and the ones that have many decades more to see. Get reading!

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Q 1. Why do you need UV protection sunglasses?

The answer seems pretty straightforward. The sun’s rays are unsafe and damaging to our eyes and skin, after all, that’s the reason why we need UV protection sunglasses, right? Yet, there’s quite a lot to know about these harmful rays than you think there is.

Why do you need UV protection sunglasses

To start with, the ultraviolet rays that you should ride shotgun for are of three types. UV-A, UV-B and UV-C. While most of the UV-C rays get absorbed by the ozone layer above us, UVA and UVB pass through to cause their damage. It is not just the sun that emits UV rays but other day to day technological machinery such as tanning beds, welding machines, and lasers emit these detrimental rays. Sadly, this case is only true when your exposure to UV rays isn’t much. However many of us like to exposure under the sun as it also provides crisp heat in the winters and warmth to the body but it can come with a price. So if you love the sun and often spend extended hours of its exposure, then you’ll experience various vision problems plus on the verge of getting progressive vision loss

If you resist using any form of UV protection, the damage can extend to causing you diseases like:

Cataract: This condition is one in which your natural lens in the eye starts turning cloudy. Thus, causing vision that’s nebulous and hazy. You might have trouble seeing properly at night and may even experience increased sensitivity towards light.

Macular Degeneration - Macular degeneration is an age-related eye problem that initiates with the damaging of the retina. The UVA rays from the sun are one of the biggest contributors of this major threat that can lead to loss of vision. Apart from getting vision loss, you’ll also have to deal with blurry vision as well through the rest of the time. Hence to drop any more risk of developing macular degeneration, switch to a nourishing diet that involves fruits, nuts, and veggies everyday.

Pterygium - Pterygium is also an eye problem that occurs due to inconvenience in the cornea. It’s a growth that gradually overcasts the white region of your eye. It is shaped like a wedge and may feel maddening. While the growth is non-cancerous, it is seen to cause blurriness while posing a risk to permanently disfigure the eye.

Skin Cancer - Increased rate of the sun UV rays exposure on the skin causes basal cell and squamous cell cancer after a series of severe skin burns. Basal cell carcinoma takes place in the area where the sun is highly exposed like the head, neck and especially the eye area that’s very delicate.

Photokeratitis - It’s one of the painful eye conditions you get to experience caused by inadequate sunlight exposure. It is basically caused by damage from the UV rays. You might feel an inflammation with redness and headaches at a smaller level. But it is also possible to cause a momentary loss in vision.

Yet, UV-A and UV-B beams from the sun are capable of leading to the worst predicaments of all - entire loss of eyesight. Don't worry! Because it's quite a rare sight.

Q 2. What is the ideal ultraviolet protection for sunglasses?

UV-A rays damage the eye’s natural lens and also pose a threat to the sensitive retina that’s positioned at the back of your eyeballs. This can cause macular degeneration and even permanent blindness.

ideal ultraviolet protection for sunglasses

UV-B rays hamper the outer cells of the cornea, which is our natural layer of protection. Thus, causing pain and blurred vision.

As you see both UV-A and UV-B rays have a lot to trouble us. Therefore, the best UV protection for sunglasses should be such that protects us completely from UV-A as well as UV-B rays. The best then are 100% UV protection sunglasses. 'UV400' is the label given to these sunglasses.

400 here represents the wavelength in nanometers that these lenses protect up to. With UV400 lenses, UV-A and UV-B rays are easily blocked as UV-A has a wavelength range of 315 to 400 nanometers and UV-B has a wavelength range of 280 to 315 nanometers.

Anything less than UV400 is sure to damage your eyes in some way.

Q 3. Which types of sunglasses have UV protection?

There’s no one kind of sunglasses that offer UV protection. Every situation might call for a different kind. Here are 5 types you need to know about when choosing the best UV protection for sunglasses.

Mirror coated lenses: A highly polished ultra-thin coating that is mirror-like makes ordinary lenses mirror coated lenses. While these are not great at protecting you from the harmful UV rays, they at least take care of the bright light and deflect it with their reflective molecules. This ensures the blockage of quite a good chunk of light that could potentially harm. Mirror coated glasses are mostly used by people indulging in snow sports and related activities, as a great amount of light can reflect from the snow and harm their eyes, which the mirror coated lenses do not allow.

Mirror coated lenses

Blue light glasses: A part of UV light is blue light that can cause eye strains, dry eyes, and headaches and may even hamper our sleep. These are mostly used by pilots, skiers, and people like you and I, who sit on their laptops, phones, and tablets all day long. Blue light glasses at Specscart have an advanced X-blue coating that blocks blue light and saves you from various eye troubles. Unlike other blue blocker lenses in the market, the lenses are not tinted and therefore, offer crystal clear vision.

blue light glasses

Photochromic glasses: Also, known as transition lenses, these are light adaptive lenses that change to dark when exposed to UV light and turn back clear when you get indoors. Now since the lenses have a layer of molecules that absorbs the UV rays completely, they become a great option as 100% UV protection sunglasses. With them on your twinkling eyes, neither do you have to worry about squinting and harming your eyes in the sun, nor about the regular clear vision when you need it indoors.

photochromic lenses

Polarised UV sunglasses: You might have heard the term polarised used a lot of times with sunglasses. That’s because a coating of polarisation film can help eliminate glare by blocking polarised light. They are excellent for people who are more sensitive to light and also for skiers, bikers, and those who love outdoor activities who cannot let distraction from glare caused by UV light hurt them.

Gradient lens sunglasses: These sunglasses have a darker tint on the top half of the lenses and a lighter tint on the bottom half. So any overhead light from the sky gets shunned because of the darker tint portion without hampering the vision beneath. These are awesome for drivers who must see the dashboard clearly without squinting because of the light from the sun. Not to mention, these lenses also have an anti-UV protective coating that’s made up of molecules which readily absorb harmful light.

gradient lenses sunglasses

Q 4. Is 100% UV protection the same as polarisation?

When we talk about polarised sunglasses, as mentioned, they exterminate glare that comes from polarised light. Wondering what polarised light is? The light that gets reflected off horizontal surfaces like ponds, lanes, etc. is what we call polarised light. As the light shines back to your eyes from differentiating angles, it may cause hazy vision or worse transitory blindness.

UV protection Vs Polarisation

However, that’s what the job of polarised sunglasses is limited to. They do not block 100% UV light. The glare or reflected light from the flat surfaces that they block is only a part of it.

When it comes to 100% UV protection sunglasses, they are capable of blocking both UV-A and UV-B rays completely because of UV400 lenses.

To make it simple to understand, imagine polarised sunglasses and 100% UV sunglasses to be woollens that save you from cold in the winters. If we were to draw a comparison, polarised glasses are like a thin sweatshirt whereas 100% UV protection sunglasses are like a thick overcoat which can even save you in the snow!

To state it in a simple manner, the answer is a straight no. Polarised sunglasses and 100% UV protection sunglasses are quite different from each other.

Yet, the pairs you buy at Specscart are both polarised and 100% UV protection sunglasses. So, this is not something you got to worry about when buying your sunglasses with us.

Q 5. How can you tell if sunglasses are UV protected?

When buying sunglasses most people make this mistake of focusing on the element of fashion more than the utility of the pair. In that case, you should buy your 100% UV protection sunglasses from brands like Specscart where you will get the best of both worlds.

How can you tell if sunglasses are UV protected

Now, how do you confirm if the pair you have bought does in fact provide 100% UV protection and is not just a selfie prop?

1. Check for the label. If a brand has used UV400 lenses that protect against both UV-A and UV-B rays then they will certainly put a claiming label saying something like ’100% UV protection sunglasses’ or ‘100% protection against UV-A and UV-B rays’. You will find a similar label like this on all sunglasses bought from Specscart.

2. Visit your local optician nearby and ask them to check the sunglasses for you. You can visit Specscart’s store in Bury or Walkden if that’s nearby. Our opticians will check your sunglasses with the help of a UV-meter for free.

However, make sure that you are not mistaking polarised glasses, gradient glasses, blue light glasses or mirror-coated glasses as 100% UV protection sunglasses. Because they are not! They only have coatings that save you from a part of UV light and not from UV-A and UV-B rays completely. Although, if these coatings like the polarisation one or anti-blue light coating are on top of UV400 lenses, then these glasses can certainly be called 100% UV protection sunglasses.

Q 6. What is the way by which UV sunglasses can be tested at home?

Testing your sunglasses to check if they provide UV protection or not is not a precise way to do so. Yet, there isn’t any harm in trying out.

UV protection sunglasses test at home

All you need to do is find a UV flashlight and search for a fluorescent thing that will glow even in the dark. You can do so by switching off the lights in the room and then moving your flashlight across the room to find this thing. Highlighters are fluorescent too, so maybe they can help. Once you see the object illuminated due to the UV light shone, shine the flashlight through the lenses you are trying to check here. If you see the object still glowing, it means those aren’t 100% UV protection sunglasses.

You can try the same method with a credit card or paper money that has built-in security elements. These also glow when UV light is shone on them. And if even after wearing glasses and passing the ultraviolet light through them you find that those elements are visible, it means that your pair is not built with UV400 lenses.

Q 7. How long does UV protection last on sunglasses?

Does reading this question shock you too? We are for certain! Who thought UV protection just like any dose of vaccine also expires? Now that you know it does, let us tell you the answer.

According to this study done in August 2017 in the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, the UV protection on a pair of sunglasses lasted for about two years. The participants of the study were Brazilians who spend around 2 hours on average under the sun daily. So, if you use your pair for about the same duration under the sun on a day to day basis, the same applies to you. It means as soon as you complete two years of wearing your sunglasses, you throw those lenses in the bin just like you do with expired medicine.

What if you use it more often, say you work outdoors or have too many vacations to cherish on the beach, you might then need to regularly change your pairs in lesser time.

But what causes the sun protection to fade away so soon? It is the scratches and the regular wear and tear to blame here.

Anyways, at Specscart we always suggest you to have different pairs for different occasions. A frame for every game you see! If that’s how you use sunglasses, you are in luck because now your favourite sunglasses might not expire as often and you may be able to use them occasionally for years to come.

Let's end this questionnaire for now. We hope we have answered all your queries regarding 100% UV protection sunglasses! Do note that the sunglasses you buy at Specsacrt already have a scratch-resistant, anti-glare, and anti-UV coating just like any other pair bought with us. With the utility box checked now, all you need to do is find your favourite frame(s) to enjoy them and fight the battle against the sun.

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