The Lens Material Determines The Amount Of UV (Ultraviolet) Protection In Sunglasses - By: Stephen Daniels
Any wholesale sunglasses distributor is in the business of selling sunglasses, with little to no responsibility to the public to guarantee the level of ultraviolet radiation their sunglasses are capable of absorbing. The truth is that some shades offer almost no UV protection because they are meant to be fashionable rather than protective. The amount and effectiveness of the UV absorption offered by most sunglasses is, in large part, determined by the composition of the lenses. The distributor is, however, responsible for indicating the level of UV protection on their product.
Ever since the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) developed a UV index, measuring the amount of ultraviolet rays in the atmosphere, the public has become more knowledgeable about their dangers, especially to the skin. Fewer people seem to know as much about the dangers of these rays to the eyes, and the surrounding skin.
There are three types of ultraviolet rays emitted by the sun, though little known UVC does not get through our atmosphere. Better known are UVA and UVB rays. Without getting terribly technical, both can do substantial damage to the eyes, though each is dangerous in different ways. What we know is that exposure damages the cornea, the pupils, the retina, and can even be responsible for the formation of cataracts, and skin cancer of the eyelids. While the sun's rays are generally less harmful on cloudy days, this is not always true. In many metro areas, the UV radiation level can be found on the weather reports in daily newspapers. This information is also available online.
The amount of radiation that gets through the atmosphere varies depending on proximity to the Equator, altitude, time of day, the weather, and other factors in the environment, such as water, snow, etc. Additionally, some medications can make people more sensitive to radiation.
Some lens materials are made to absorb 100% of both UVA and UVB rays. Others require some sort of coating in order to provide that function. The color of the lenses has virtually nothing to do with the amount of protection any pair of glasses offers. In fact, clear lenses can be 100% UV absorbent, while dark mirrored glasses might offer no protection at all.
In general, the less expensive sunglasses are to purchase, the less reliable they are in protecting your eyes. Cheap shades with tags claiming 100% UV protection are in all likelihood, truly 100% UV absorbing, when they are manufactured. However, the danger from these comes in the materials the lens is made from. Many cheap lenses offer no more than a thin UV reflective coating applied on inexpensive plastic. If dropped, or handled carelessly, the coating can chip or crack, resulting in distortion in vision, and allowing all UV rays to penetrate the lenses.
Most eye doctors recommend that children need to wear sun protective glasses on any day that a parent would wear them. In fact, their eyes are more sensitive to sun damage than adult eyes, and they do tend to stay outside in the sun more than most adults.
When looking for really good sunglasses, regardless of price, it is best to look for polycarbonate or Trivex lenses. These block 100% of UV rays with no protective coating, so even dropping them will not lessen their protection. For children, polycarbonate lenses are advised, because they are break resistant during their rough and tumble play times. Avid sports people usually prefer polarized lenses because they cut down on glare; but these must be coated in order to offer the 100% solar ray deflection needed.
There are now contact lens manufacturers claiming 100% UV protection. While this is possible, those wearers should still wear shades to protect the area surrounding the eyeball, and the eyelids. In fact, it is best to wear glasses with large lenses to cover as much of the eye area as possible. Wrap around lenses are considered best of all.
For retailers, it is best to offer many styles to customers. You should rely on a distributor of wholesale fashion sunglasses to be very knowledgeable about the amount of protection and lens composition of any glasses they carry and sell to you.
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