UV protection is a coating added to sunglasses or eyeglasses lenses to filter or block harmful UltraViolet Radiation, emitted by the sun, from coming into contact with your eyes and skin. These harmful rays from the sun, often hitting you directly, but they can also reflect off of sand, water, snow, and buildings, even on the most overcast days. UV-coated glasses and UV-protective sunglasses feature a thin coating of UVA- and UVB-blocking material to protect your eyes outdoors. The UV coating can come standard with the product, as is true of many sunglasses, or as an option with eyeglass lenses. UV protection is so important that we offer UV coating on all of our lenses at no additional cost.
There are three types of ultraviolet radiation—UVA, UVB, and UVC. You probably don't hear much about UVC because the earth's ozone layer absorbs it, making its threat minimal to nonexistent. But both UVA and UVB (or simply, UV radiation) can cause short- and long-term damage to your eyes and your vision. When it comes to ultraviolet radiation, the sun poses a daily threat, but welding machines, tanning beds, and lasers can produce UV rays, too. UV protection on your glasses and sunglasses lenses may help prevent the damage UV radiation can do to your eyes. UV coating can be applied to any plastic or glass lens for maximized protection.
Yes: UV coating on eyeglasses and sunglasses protects your eyes from harmful ultraviolet radiation. Even short-term exposure to ultraviolet radiation without wearing UV-protective sunglasses or UV-coated eyeglasses can cause damage similar to a sunburn, but in your eyes, which may become red and puffy, or feel gritty, like you have sand in them. If you’re very sensitive to light, you may suffer from excessive tearing. Fortunately, these symptoms are usually temporary. But if your eyes are exposed to long-term solar radiation, you stand a greater risk of developing cataracts or macular degeneration later in life.
Ideally, your sunglasses should offer UV400, which means they block 100% of UV rays. If you cannot verify from the sticker or information included with a pair of sunglasses that they are UV400, check to make sure the shades offer 100% UVA and UVB protection. They should also block 75 to 90 percent of all visible light to maximize protection. Be wary about buying sunglasses that are not UV-blocking glasses. The dark tint may allow your pupils to remain larger, exposing you to more harm from UV radiation. And anybody who spends a lot of time outdoors should consider wearing wraparound UV glasses to cut down the amount of UV radiation that may enter the eyes from the periphery.
Wraparound, or sunglasses with a wrapped profile are the best sunglasses for UV protection. This style of frame curves around your features providing ample protection from straight-on and peripheral sunlight. While most commonly seen as rectangular frames, you can find sleek wraparound styles with oval and rounded lenses. Some of our top performance brands, including Smith, Oakley, and Maui Jim, make wraparound frames with 3-, 5-, and 8-base wraps to ensure your frames stay balanced and comfortable through high-octane activities while providing the most protection possible.
Yes, most safety sunglasses have UV protection, but it's always smart to double-check product details to ensure you're getting full coverage out of your frames. FramesDirect offers a free 100% UV coating that can be added at checkout to all our frames and lenses, so no matter what glasses you choose, you can be certain your eyes are shielded from 100% of the sun's harmful rays.
Keep in mind that UV protection in sunglasses can decrease over time, but it takes years to do so. Wearers of UV protective sunglasses can best protect themselves in the long term by replacing their eyewear every several years. When shopping for the right style, make sure to consider the fit and temple coverage as well. These elements can contribute additional protection for those regularly exposed to heavy, direct sunlight.
No. Polarization and UV protection are different, even if some companies advertise them together. Polarization refers to a lens’s ability to reduce haze and glare in bright sun, but polarization alone does not protect your eyes from UV radiation. While most polarized lenses are also UV-blocking glasses, make sure that both features are included when you purchase your sunglasses. According to the Glaucoma Research Foundation, "polarization is unrelated to UV protection, so you still need to ensure UV absorption of the lenses."
No amount of lens cleaning or exposure to heat will affect the protective qualities of sunglasses with UV protection embedded in the lenses. Choose a brand known for the quality of its lenseslike Wiley X, Maui Jim, or Ray-Banfor sunglasses that come standard with UV protection.
If you plan to step outside in your glasses, UV protection is an option worth considering. The American Academy of Ophthalmology says "UV coatings on prescription clear lenses are as effective as those on sunglasses." The AAO points out that it is not the dark tint that blocks the UV radiation, but the UV coating that is applied. Also, the type of lens material matters. According to the AAO, polycarbonate lenses and other high-index plastics, like Trivex, offer 100% UV protection. Photochromic lensesthose that darken when exposed to direct sunlighthave UV protection embedded in them. But the coating must be added to regular plastic lenses to make them UV-blocking glasses.
Yes! In fact, if you opt for glasses without 100% UV protection, you may as well not wear sunglasses at all. Adding a UV coating to your Rx lenses is easy, and often comes free with the lenses you order from FramesDirect.com. Our clear, protective lens coating blocks 100% of harmful UVA and UVB rays and comes standard on all polycarbonate and high-index lenses. Without changing the color of the lens, the coating will completely defend your eyes against UVA and UVB rays.
Blue light-filtering lens treatment is among the newest available eye protection technologies. Most LED screens emit harmful blue light, which can damage the retinas in your eyes, and also affects sleep patterns. Wearing blue-light-filtering lenses during prolonged computer or tablet use filters out harmful blue light for enhanced safety and melatonin production at night.
In most cases, yes. Choose sunglasses that offer 100% UV protection and will also filter out most of the blue-violet light, also known as HEV rays. Adding a UV coating to your eyeglasses may suffice to filter out the blue light emitted from LED screens, as well. Since harmful blue light is emitted from LED screens, while UV and blue-violet light is emitted from the sun, it may be worthwhile to opt for both coatings to ensure extra protection. Heavy gamers or wearers who spend long hours on a computer may even opt for lenses in bronze, copper, or a reddish-brown tint for the best protection against HEV rays.
Blue-violet light is between 400 and 455nm as stated by ISO TR20772-2018.
(ISO: International Standards Organization – “Ophthalmic optics – Spectacles lenses – Short Wavelength visible solar radiation and the eye, FD ISO/TR 20772”)
FramesDirect offers thousands of sunglasses and eyeglasses from top designers and brands. Contact us with any questions about specific frames or how to add UV coating to your glasses.
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