What is UV (And why is UV protection so important for your eyes?)

What is UV?

And why is UV protection so important for your eyes?

Sunglasses have more and more transformed to being a fashion item, rather than something to protect your eyes. Up to the point where we now sometimes call it “Sun Eyewear” and focus on shapes and colors more than on their protective qualities. With a focus on the fashion element you might be looking for more variation in shapes, colors, brands. And you’re less concerned with lenses and filter quality. And why would you? Enjoy the Summer, the Sun and your cool looking Sunglasses and let us be concerned with quality and regulation. But in case you want to understand the basics of UV Protection for your eyes, look no further!

What is UV?


“UV” stands for Ultraviolet. It is a form of electromagnetic radiation that is naturally emitted by the sun. There is a lot of scientific evidence supporting that UV light during the day is important for a healthy body, healthy mind and good night’s sleep. However, UV light is getting more and more attention in recent years because it becomes clearer how UV radiation works and how it can cause damage to our eyes and skin. UV rays from the sun may lead to eye desease and eye damage, such as: Macular Degeneration, Cataract, Sunburn or the Cornea and Cancer (e.g. eyelids). But how?

There are three different types of UV radiation:

UVA (or UV-A)

Up to 95% of the rays from the sun that reach our skin and eyes are UVA. The UVA rays have the least energy from the three types of UV rays. It causes aging of the skin over time.  This type of UV radiation can cause damage the retina (back of your eye). Beingbar® Sun Eyewear sunglasses protect your eyes from UVA, as well as all other sunglasses that meet standards and regulations in the US and Europe and many other places in the world.

UVB (or UV-B)

UVB are the rays that cause sunburns and direct damage to the skin. UVB is scientifically connected to different types of skin cancers. 5% of the UV rays that reach our skin and eyes are UVB. The front of your eyes blocks most of the UVB rays but still these rays are believed to be the most damaging to your eyes. As with UVA, Beingbar® Sun Eyewear sunglasses protect your eyes from UVB, as well as all other sunglasses that meet standards and regulations in the US and Europe and many other places in the world.

UVC (or UV-C) rays

UVC is believed to be the most damaging UV rays. Luckily, the natural UVC from the sun does not pass the ozone in our atmosphere so it normally does not reach our eyes or our skin. There are some other sources of UVC, including man-made sources. You should know that standard sunglasses normally are not suitable to protect from artificial radiation such as tanning beds.

UV Rays Reflection and other facts

Some interesting facts that you should know about UV rays: Water, snow, roads as well as other surfaces reflect UV rays. So even when you are sitting under an umbrella you can still receive UV rays. UV rays also go through clouds and even through some types of clothing materials.
When you go hiking in the mountains and higher areas there will be more UV rays. Especially if you are skiing you need to take extra precautions: you are on high ground with more UV and the snow reflects and amplifies whatever UV rays are already present.

Protecting your Eyes and Skin from UV-rays

You should protect your skin form the sun, especially in the middle of the day, when the sunlight is at its strongest. Your eyes need protection too, so wearing sunglasses is always a good idea. Sunglasses normally protect against AVA and UVB rays if they meet the strong applicable regulations. As said: UVC normally does not reach the ground or your eyes because it is filtered by the ozone layer.

Polarized lenses vs UV rays

Polarized lenses do not protect against UV rays more than standard sun lenses. Polarized lenses are sunglass lenses that have an additional layer for polarization. So polarized sunglasses protect your eyes from UV light, regardless of the polarization. The polarized lenses give more comfort and contrast because light from horizontal surfaces is blocked. Side note: that’s why you should not use polarized sunglasses for driving in the evening or at night, because it filters our light that you need to watch the road

UV400, what is that?

You sometimes see a sticker or indication on your new pair of sunglasses saying “UV400”. This means that they filter UV rays up until wavelength of 400 nanometer. A good pair of sunglasses have a “Cat. 3” or Category 3 indication. This indicates that the UV-filter meets European norms and do what regulations and norm require them to do: protect your eyes from UV rays and help protect your eyes from the sun.
Beingbar® sunglasses contain Category 3 lenses, with a polarized coating. They meet all relevant regulations and norms. If you would like to know more about applicable regulations, please visit the Beingbar® product pages for more information about the products.

Sources used contain:
EU regulation 2016/425
of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 March 2016 on personal protective equipment and repealing Council Directive 89/686/EEC. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv:OJ.L_.2016.081.01.0051.01.ENG