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How To Test If Sunglasses Have UV Protection?

Sunglasses On Grass

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Ultraviolet rays from the sun can devastate your eyes over time. It would help if you safeguarded yourself from them lest you suffer terrible consequences.

Not to worry, though, in this article, I will help you do that.

When it comes to UV protection, getting a pair of decent sunglasses is your best bet. But how do you tell if they do offer any protection against UV rays? For starters, check if the model states phrases such as ‘UV 400 protection.’

In case you’re not sure if you need UV protection or not, then read on to find out why it matters. I will also unveil how you can make the most prudent choice when choosing outdoor sunglasses.

This article also includes a DIY test to help you judge if your sunglasses protect you against UV rays. Just remember to never cheap out on something so important. With that said, let’s move on.

Why Do You Need Protection Against UV Rays?

Being highly sensitive, your eyes are vulnerable to irritants and irradiations.

Ultraviolet rays are not a joking matter. They can cause severe long-term damage. If you’re not careful, the repercussions can be tough to face.

Continuous exposure to these rays can lead to severe conditions; these include:

· Vision impairment

· Cataracts (cloudiness in the lens)

· Sunburn of the cornea

· Retinal damage

But the risk does not end there. Things can get as bad as ultraviolet keratitis and ocular melanoma (a form of cancer). The only formidable shield against UV radiation is your sunglasses. But not all products are equal. You need to buy one that can get the job done.

How do you ensure whether this the case with your pair? That’s a fair question, and I will show you how you can do that in the following section.

How To Test If Your Sunglasses Have UV Protection?

Wondering if your sunglasses have what it takes? Can they safeguard you from those horrendous UV rays? Try out one of these two tests for the answer:

DIY Test

You can do a simple test at home and see it for yourself. All you need is a UV flashlight and a dollar bill. What you have to do is shine the light on a dollar bill; it’ll start glowing like a Christmas tree.

This is because the US dollars have UV-fluorescent fibers that glow when exposed to UV light. Now place the sunglasses in front of the rays and notice if the glow fades off. If it doesn’t, then you need new glasses.

Older glasses and those with scratches on the lenses will most likely fail this test. This is because their UV protective coating may have been compromised.

Quantitative Test

You can also get your glasses checked by an expert. Professional eye care specialists use photometers for this purpose. These sophisticated instruments can measure light transmission and deliver quantitative results.

Why Should You Never Go Cheap?

You’re not sure what to believe in your case. After all, you found this online and decided to go for them because you could get two for a couple of dollars. Many sunglasses offer 100 percent protection against UV rays. These are the sort that you should go for.

Cheap models are only good for the looks, and those too temporarily. For something more functional, you’ll have to invest a bit to get your hands on branded products. These will be much more protective than the ‘one-dollar junk’ you may come across online.

You don’t have to waste excessive sums over brands, since most are reasonably affordable.

What Is The Extent Of UV Protection?

You’d of course, want something that offers absolute protection. There is no other option. Always opt for models that state their protective nature. You should look for labels like ‘UV 400 protection’ or something similar.

Such lenses will shield off UV rays up to 400 nanometers in wavelength, including the UVA & UVB fractions. They will only allow a bit of visible light to pass through. Your glasses should also block around 75 to 90 percent of the visible rays. This is important as they too can cause severe Sunburn in the cornea.

You need absolute shielding from the UV rays and some dampening of the visible fraction. There is no ‘extent’ in this matter. You either have fool-proof protection against the harms of UV radiation, or you don’t. 

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Dark Does Not Mean Safer

Buyers believe that darker sunglass shades are better for UV protection. While darker shades do have a greater absorbance for visible light, this does not apply to UV rays. Dampening of visible light and UV shielding are separate phenomena.

The UV protection component works independently of the shading. Darker shades can be more detrimental if your sunglasses don’t provide UV protection. This is because your pupils will dilate in response to low light intensity.

This will leave you in a greater danger than having no sunglasses on (which is dangerous enough already). Only those models that mention their protective potential are worth it. Don’t judge based on the shade; that’s a whole different story.

Some Extra Considerations

Here are some last-minute considerations for buying UV protective sunglasses:

· Polarization and UV protection are two very different and unrelated phenomena. Although both of these can be present at once in your glasses.

· Polycarbonate (PC) lens are inherently UV protective. They don’t need any extra coatings or shielding to get the job done.; This is also true for Trivex-made lenses.

· Optical glass and plastic cannot shield against UV rays on their own. These need protective coatings (sometimes several) to work.

· If you frequent outdoors or work under the sun, go for wraparound sunglasses. These offer complete protection against radiation perils from all around you.

Bottom Line

Never take UV damage lightly. These rays can cause severe cellular damage and mutations. Sometimes, things can progress as far as conditions like cancer! Having protective sunglasses can help you not only fight for your eyes but well-being too.

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