You’ve definitely heard by now that UV rays (namely, UVA and UVB rays) cause damage to your skin and eyes. Sunscreen and sunglasses pair well as these rays can even pass through clouds. With marketing being such a powerful force these days, we’ve got you covered with this Q&A on how much UV protection your men’s wood sunglasses actually provide.
Why is it so important to make sure my sunglasses offer 98-99% UV protection?
Over time, exposure to UV rays can lead to cataracts – the only way to remove these is through surgery. Sun damage also hurts the retina, and people with light eyes are more prone to sun damage. Not only that, but UV rays can sunburn your corneas!
Expensive sunglasses provide more UV protection than cheap ones…right?
Not always! A pair $5 shades can provide 100% UV protection just as well as another pair of $200 sunglasses. However, the more expensive sunglasses will generally have a higher quality lens – means there’ll be less distortion and a much better image. So while price is no guarantee, you’ll probably have to replace those $68 sunglasses less often than the $5 ones.
Who verifies that the sunglasses provide the actual amount of UV protection the company says they do?
There’s actually no independent entity that verifies this. However, one option you can do is take your sunglasses to an optometrist. They should be able to quickly verify (for free) whether or not your sunglasses provide quality UV protection.
What is better, darker lenses or lighter?
In terms of UV protection, this question is actually moot – the lens’s tint has nothing to do with how much UV protection it provides. Designed correctly, light and dark lenses can provide the same amount of UV protection. However, one small caveat to this is that a clear lens with UV protection is better than a dark lens without it. Why? Because darker lenses will cause your eyes to dilate more, making them more vulnerable to UV light. The only time tint really becomes a factor in selecting sunglasses is knowing that different tints will help you see better in certain conditions.
How often will I need to replace my sunglasses to make sure I’m still getting quality UV protection?
It is true that UV protection wears off with the passage of time, but there’s no set date as a variety of factors would need to be considered to give an answer – how much time you spend in the sun, how much you actually wear the glasses, the strength of the sun’s rays where you are, etc. A good rule of thumb is to take your sunglasses with you to your optometrist at your yearly checkup so they can tell you their recommendation.
Is there a way to test my sunglasses on my own?
There is, but again, if you’re really concerned, it’s always best to get the opinion of a professional. In order to test your sunglasses on your own, you’ll need a UV flashlight. In a darkroom, shine the flashlight
first on either a credit card or paper money. Certain symbols will become visible in this light that you wouldn’t see otherwise. Now put your sunglasses between the money/card and your flashlight – if you can see the symbols, then your sunglasses don’t offer complete UV protection. But if they do, you should be good to go – again, it’s always a good idea to get the second opinion of a professional.
Who might be at higher risk for UV radiation exposure?
Again, there are several factors to consider, but some people who might need to take a little extra care with their eyes in regards to UV radiation include those who:
- spend most of their time outdoors
- live at higher altitudes
- spend a good amount of time doing mountain activities such as climbing or skiing
- are often at the beach
- use tanning beds or sunlamps
- take medication that can increase their sensitivity to UV radiation
- have had cataract surgeries in the past
- live in the U.S. Sunbelt (a large region of the United States extending through the entire south, from California to South Carolina/Florida)
What should I look for on the label?
Look for “UV 400” – this will provide you with quality protection from both UVA and UVB rays.
Is being polarized the same thing as offering UV protection?
No. Polarization can help, but it’s just a filter added to the lens that helps block/reduce glare. You may not think this is that important, but pay attention on your next morning commute on a sunny day. You’ll find glare everywhere, even on the cars in front of you! When you’re wearing sunglasses, you want to see as clearly as possible, and polarized lenses can help with that by offering a clearer picture of what’s around you.
All EarthShade Sunglasses come with Polarized lens and UV 400 protection.