anti uv glasses: why we need uv protection for our eyes

Applying sunscreen is a daily occurrence for many of us and for good reason. Overexposure to harmful UV rays can damage our skin and is even linked to skin cancer. However, we often neglect to protect our eyes from these same rays. While manmade sources like tanning beds, lasers and welding machines also produce UV radiation, the main source of it, is, of course, the sun. There are three forms of UV radiation:

  • UV C is mostly absorbed by the ozone layer and is therefore not considered a threat. However, we must acknowledge that due to the damage to the ozone layer this may not be the case on a permanent basis.  
  • UV A and UV B both cause damage to our skin and our eyes.


Excessive exposure to UV radiation over a brief period of time may lead to inflammation in your cornea. This is basically a ‘sunburn’ of the eye; and though the symptoms, which include red eyes, a gritty feeling in the eye, pain, sensitivity to light and an increase of tears, are unpleasant, they are mercifully temporary.

However, long-term exposure can result in increasing the risk of individual developing cataracts, retinal damage, Pterygia (visible growths on the eye) and macular degeneration.

With the advances in vision technology, it is now easier than ever before to protect our eyes. Lens coatings like the Crizal range, which protect from UV rays in both the front and back of the lenses can be used to enhance single vision or progressive lenses.

  • Why do we need UV protection for our eyes


But first, what are UV protection glasses?

Basically, a UV coating on your clear lenses is applied to effectively block ultraviolet light. While regular plastic eyeglass lenses block most UV light, adding this invisible UV-blocking dye to your lenses ensures that you are 100% protected. Often, people mistake UV glasses for sunglasses.

While sunglasses seem like the obvious choice and indeed play an important role, a more effective step is to opt to protect yourself when wearing your normal glasses by ensuring that you ask for a UV protective coating on your clear lenses too.




  • UV Lenses vs Sunglasses

UV Protection Glasses and Sunglasses

Though Anti-UV Glasses/Lenses and Sunglasses have some similarities, there are many differences in their benefits and usability.

UV Lenses

  • Work well on  both sunny and cloudy days
  • UV coated lenses block 99% of the sun’s harmful UV rays
  • Most UV lenses have a UV-blocking film embedded in the lens, which prevents it from wearing off
  • One pair of glasses for outdoor and indoor, so no need to carry two pairs


  • Impractical to wear when it isn’t sunny
  • Carrying around an indoor pair of glasses as well as your sunglasses is tiresome
  • Because the lenses are dark tinted, it doesn’t mean it blocks out all the rays. It is important to ensure that sunglasses block out at least 99% of the harmful UV rays
  • The UV coating on inexpensive sunglasses can wear off after time

To get the best of both worlds, you can use Transitions lenses, which adapt to light intensity, meaning you can have tinted glasses when outdoors in the sun and clear lenses in a dimly-lit room.


Did You Know?

As the worlds’ largest manufacturer of ophthalmic lenses, we have long been a proponent of the idea that we should protect our eyes with the same focus and enthusiasm as we do our skins. Essilor is responsible for the development of The Eye-Sun Protection Factor (E-SPF™).

This index certifies the global UV protection your lenses provide your eyes and the delicate skin that surrounds them. As with sunscreen, the higher the value, the greater the protection, for example E-SPF™ 50+ offers optimal UV protection outside.

Want the perfect UV protection for your eyes?

Speak to your nearest optician today


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