Safe Sunglasses

Just as you ‘Slip-Slop-Slap’, you should be donning a good safe pair of sunglasses too. But how can you be sure the sunnies you buy can genuinely protect your eyes? To find out Choice decided to do a snap-shot test and bought 20 pairs of sunnies, mostly at the lower end of the price market – just to see how safety compliant these were.The Test

We sent our sunglasses to an expert lab, which measured how well the lenses blocked glare and UV radiation – compulsory aspects of the standard. We also measured how much heat they allowed through their lenses (important for eye comfort but not a mandatory requirement) and whether the lenses greatly affected the perception of colour – important if you’re driving and waiting for the lights to change!

Good news

The good news is that the majority of sunglasses we randomly bought passed the key requirements of the Australian standard. However, four out of 16 ‘general purpose sunglasses’ – failed to block enough glare. Two of these also let a lot more UV through the lens than the other sunglasses tested, even though they still passed the standard.

According to the testing lab, “The printed specifications in the standard on UVA transmission may be too generous. Even a few percent of UVA and a fraction of a percent of UVB could fail to prevent long-term eye harm for anyone who is outside for extended periods. Our experience is that such amounts for long times can cause significant accumulation of chemical damage in most organic materials and organic molecular systems.”