Ultraviolet radiation (UV)

Individual protection against UV

What are the right sunglasses?

Just as with the skin, UV exposure to the eye is cumulative over a lifetime and may cause irreversible damage. Sunglasses help your vision and protect your eyes. They make you feel more comfortable under bright light conditions as they reduce glare and improve contrast. Most importantly, good sunglasses filter UVA and UVB radiation and can prevent damage to the eye.

You cannot tell how much UV radiation a pair of sunglasses block based on the colour of the lenses, their darkness or their price. UV transmission through sunglasses varies considerably. However, most sunglasses on sale filter a large percentage of UV radiation. According to the American National Standards Institute, general purpose sunglasses must block between 60 and 92 per cent of visible light and UVA, and between 95 and 99 per cent of UVB.

For sunglasses to be fully protective against UV radiation, the lenses must absorb all UV radiation and side protection should be provided. This is especially important in extreme UV environments, for example during hiking or climbing at altitude or skiing.