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Do Your Sunglasses Really Protect Your Eyes From UV Damage?

By Essilor News

April 29, 2016

If you walk into a designer sunglasses store and then walk into the corner drug store, you’ll find similarly stylish sunglasses in both that claim: 100% UV protection. But what does that really mean? And are you really protected?

Unfortunately, the answer is no. For starters, let’s talk about UV, or ultraviolet rays. These harmful rays not only damage skin, but can also damage the eyes and even contribute to cataracts. So if you’re sporting a pair that boasts 100% UV protection, you’re golden, right?

Wrong. The standard pair of sunglasses is designed to block 100% of UV rays from entering the front of your lenses. But the reality is sun light is everywhere and enters the eyes from all angles, research* confirms that 14% to 45% of ambient UV light still reaches the eyes even when traditional sunglasses are worn due to side and backside exposure.

In other words, simply blocking the UV from the front of the lens won’t cut it when it comes to keeping your eyes healthy. To really help protect your eyes, a good pair of sunglasses will reduce the UV rays that reflect off the backside of your lenses by adding an antireflective (AR) coating that cut down the reflection of both UV and visible light .When you have this backside UV protection, your eyes – and the skin around your eyes – can be protected up to 98% from UV.

So where do you get the best sunglasses that offer full protection? Look for premium sunwear that offers backside AR, like Xperio UV ™ polarized sun lenses. In addition to UV protection, the investment in premium sunwear can continue to benefit you in the long run. Quality specs typically offer added durability, impact resistance, and polarized lenses. If you’ve never heard of polarized lenses, these lenses contains a special filter that blocks certain kinds of reflected light to cut glare and haze, and make for a much more enjoyable experience on the lake or the road (two spots where such reflected light waves are common).

Bottom line: With sunglasses, the old rule holds true — you get what you pay for. 



*Effectiveness of Eyeglasses for Protection against Ultraviolet Radiation by Sakamoto, Kojima and Sasaki. May 1999.