August 4, 2022

How to choose your sunglasses

Sunglasses are an essential accessory on sunny days. As well as complementing your clothing style, good glasses should protect your eyes from the harmful effects of the sun. What criteria should you use when choosing them? What protection factor should you go for?

fillette portant des grandes lunettes de soleil

Sunglasses are protection for your eyes

Choosing the right sunglasses means above all protecting your eyes from the sun’s rays. Here are the things you need to pay attention to when choosing quality sunglasses.

The CE standard

The first thing you need to check is the presence of the CE mark on the sunglasses. Since 1995, European standards have defined quality and performance requirements for sunglasses. The CE logo indicates that your future glasses meet these requirements.

Under these standards, a detailed information guide (in French) is required. This guide must include details of the characteristics, care instructions and the category of protection afforded by the sunglasses.

What protection factor should you go for?

Protection categories ranging from 0 to 4 indicate the sunlight filtering capabilities of your glasses. The higher the category, the more effective the filtering power of the glasses:

  • Category 0 (cloud symbol): does not provide any protection against UV rays. These glasses are purely aesthetic accessories.
  • Category 1 (cloud and sun symbol): reserved for use in cloudy weather or low light conditions.
  • Category 2 (sun symbol with 8 rays): suitable for mid-season with medium sunlight.
  • Category 3 (sun symbol with 16 rays): the minimum protection factor for exposure to intense sunlight, such as during holidays at the seaside or on the ski slopes.
  • Category 4 (sun symbol over two mountains and wave lines): for protection against very high levels of sunlight. Glasses with a protection factor of 4 are suitable for mountains, open sea or tropical sunshine.

The most important thing to remember

For holidays by the sea or in the mountains, protection category 3 is the minimum recommended protection factor and don’t forget, category 4 lenses are forbidden for driving because of their high filtration capacity as it exceeds 90%.

What about sunglasses for children?

Sunglasses for children are even more important than for adults. Regardless of the colour of their eyes, children’s crystalline lenses are completely transparent until the age of 10 to 12. So pay close attention to the protection category of the glasses you choose.

Beware of fancy glasses for the little ones. Choose lightweight models that are adapted to your child’s body shape so that they don’t mind wearing them. A lanyard is a good investment to prevent them from losing their sunglasses straightaway.

Some preconceived ideas about sunglasses and eyes

No doubt you have heard some of these statements before. To choose the right glasses, make sure you know what is true and what is not:

  • Dark lenses provide better protection against the sun: a false and dangerous statement. Only the protection indices guarantee the effectiveness of the lenses of the glasses you have chosen.
  • People with light eyes are more sensitive to sunlight: this is a commonly held belief, but it is not true. The iris of our eye is composed of two layers: the first layer defines the colour of the eye based on the concentration of melanin. The second layer is the one that protects our eyes from the sun, and this is the same for everyone, regardless of how light our eyes are.
  • Sunglasses with basic protection are sufficient: as soon as you are in an area with strong sunlight, category 3 protection is essential. Even more so at the water’s edge or in the mountains where sunlight reflects off them.
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