Eyeglasses UV Protection Strength - Are your eyes fully protected?

It's Summer! Time to enjoy the outdoors, the beach and sunshine. Lots and lots of sunshine. By now, we all know the importance of protecting ourselves from over exposure to Ultra Violet (UV) sun rays. But in addition to lotion to protect your skin, are your eyewear lenses doing enough to protect your eyes? Because your vision is at risk from UV radiation as well.

Why do we need UV protection for our eyeglasses?

UV radiation helps our bodies synthesis vitamin D, but does not provide any positive benefit to our eyes or assist our vision. But over exposing your eyes to UV, either in intense short bursts such as a day at the beach or longterm, can seriously impact your vision. The World Health Organization (WTO) cites risks including acute solar retinopathy, carcinoma of the cornea, ocular melanoma and macular degeneration. All serious health concerns.

Fortunately, you can easily protect your eyes with lenses that have UV400 level coating. What does that mean? UV400 level coating blocks 400 nanometers, or 99% of all UV radiation. We at Focusers feel very strongly that our customers should have this top-level of eye protection when we prepare their lenses. That's why we include UV400 protection on all frames with lens upgrades. That includes:

  • Sunglasses, with or without vision correction
  • Prescription lenses
  • Bifocals
  • Polycarbonate lenses
  • Readers

Please note that frame only orders do not have UV protection coating, as they are provided with demo lenses which are expected to be used as a template and replaced by your local optician, and are not made for everyday wear.

The UV Protection Gap

We also caution anyone who owns or purchases sunglasses or clear lens eyeglasses that make claims to offer 100% UV protection, but in fact allow up to 40% of harmful UV rays to reach the eye. How is that possible? It's due to what's know as the "UV Protection Gap", which is related to the ANSI/ISO (American National Standards Institute/International Organization for Standardization) standard of UV380 (protection of up to 380 nanometers). The difference of 20 nanometers between UV380 and UV400 is enough to let that extra 40% UV radiation through to your eyes. That's why the WTO and other global health and many science organizations have chosen UV400 as the proper standard for optimum UV protection for the eyes.

Can Clear Lens Glasses Have UV Protection?

The American Academy of Ophthalmology says "UV coatings on prescription clear lenses are as effective as those on sunglasses." The AAO says it is not the dark color that blocks UV radiation, but the applied UV coating. Also, the type of lens material matters. According to the AAO, polycarbonate lenses block ultraviolet radiation without any coating, but standard plastic lenses must have the coating added to be considered UV blocking glasses.

In fact, dark sunglasses without UV protection may put your eyes at greater risk of UV damage because your pupils may remain larger and allow more UV rays to enter.

So when you're out and about this Summer, be sure to protect your eyes and vision!