Protecting Eyes From UV Light

Protecting Eyes From UV Light

21 July 2020


With a wide range of lens materials available, your patients may feel a bit lost when choosing the right type of lenses to order. As their eye care professional, patients are looking to you to provide guidance on this decision.

Lens weight, thickness, optical quality and impact resistance are all features customers are concerned with. But UV blocking properties are another essential consideration when selecting lens materials.

Overview on UV Blocking Properties of Lenses

If you have patients who do not routinely wear sunglasses outdoors or when driving, they can ensure their clear lenses have proper UV protection.

Eyeglass Materials

The following eyeglass lens materials have built-in ultraviolet blocking properties:

  • Polycarbonate. These lenses are 10 times more impact resistant versus standard plastic, 25 percent thinner, and deliver 100 percent UV protection. As the standard for children’s eyewear and safety glasses, polycarbonate lenses are an excellent choice for physical and UV protection. Due to its low abbe value, some patients have difficulty adapting to polycarbonate and are dissatisfied with its optical clarity.
  • Trivex. This material has a similar profile to polycarbonate, including 100 percent UV protection. However, it has a higher abbe value than polycarbonate, which means fewer chromatic aberrations and clearer, crisper vision. Trivex is also one of the lightest lens material available (about 10 percent lighter than polycarbonate).
  • High index. Most high-index lenses have 100 percent UV blocking properties. They are also the thinnest lenses available. However, these lenses are more reflective than standard plastic lenses and should be dispensed with non-glare treatments. Lower abbe values also increase the chances for chromatic aberrations.

Unlike the lenses above, standard CR-39 plastic lenses require UV treatments to provide the same UV protection.

Sunglass Materials

These lens materials are excellent options to add more sun protection and enhance visual comfort:

  • Mirrored lenses. Mirrored processes allow the front surface of the lens to have highly reflective properties. This treatment results in glare reduction, better visual comfort, enhanced acuity and improved scratch resistance.
  • Photochromic lenses darken when exposed to UV light and provide 100 percent UVA and UVB blocking. They are an excellent way to enhance clear lenses but are not a complete substitute for sunglasses during extended outdoor use. Another benefit of these lenses is their ability to block blue light.
  • Polarized lenses. Polarized lenses reduce glare off horizontal surfaces, making this lens a superior choice for water activities, driving a car and extended outdoor use. These are also ideal for light-sensitive patients, such as those with cataracts. Although the polarization does not enhance UV blocking properties, it does improve contrast and clarity of vision.

Offer Your Patients the Best in UV Protection

R&D Optical Lab, an independent lab, provides a variety of sunglass and UV protection options to your patients, including Transitions, mirrored treatments, performance tints, Trivex lenses and more. We also carry Chemistrie magnetic clips, which are available in 24 polarized colors, including mirrored options. They are customized to fit any frame.

We stand behind every pair we make and offer a 100 percent no-hassle warranty. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at 513-273-4034 or visit our website For more tips and our latest updates, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram or LinkedIn!

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