There are currently 5 categories of sunglass lenses in available Australia and all sunglass manufacturers are now required to label all sunglasses appropriately to inform the consumer how much UV and sun glare protection their eyewear will provide.
These categories are rated on the amount of harmful UV radiation and also the amount of visible sunlight that the lenses absorb or allow to transmit through the lens - category 0 absorbs the least light and category 4 absorbs the most light.
Here is a brief explanation of the different categories:
0 = Fashion spectacles will provide no reduction from visible light and little protection from UV rays. This lens will appear clear rather than having a tint.
1 = Fashion spectacles will provide limited reduction of visible light and protection from UV rays. This lens will have a very light tint but won°Øt stop much light transmitting through the lens into the wearers eyes.
2 = Sunglasses for general use provide good protection from visible light and from UV rays. This lens will have a tint which allows through less light than category 1 but more light than category 3. A graduated tint will be categorized as 2. A graduated tint is a tint which is dark at the top of the lens and gradually gets clearer towards the bottom of the lens.
3 = Sunglasses which provide extra protection from both visible and UV light. These lenses will usually only allow 25 - 15% of visible light to penetrate the lens. This means that they will block out 75 - 85% of light. An example of this type of lens is a Ray-Ban G15 full 85% tint which is the dark greenish grey coloured lenses which are common in the majority of their sunglass products.
4 = Sunglasses which provide a high level of protection from visible and UV light. These lenses are not to be worn when driving as they are too dark. These lenses will allow less than 15% of light to transmit through the lens. They aren°Øt very common and are to be used for professional use only - not for a pair of everyday sunglasses.
It is important to wear a good pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes from harmful UV radiation which can potentially damage your eyes over time causing conditions such as cataracts and other degenerative eye conditions. It is just as it is important to protect your eyes from UV rays by wearing sunglasses as it is to protect your skin from the sun by using sunscreen.
The most common categories are 2 and 3 although this does depend on current fashion trends as from time to time, sunglasses with very light tints which provide little protection come into fashion.
Sunglasses Lens Standards in Australia
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23 September 2009
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