How to Test Sunglasses for UV Protection: 5 Simple Ways [2023]

When it comes to sunglasses, UV protection should be a top priority – not just looking cool. But how can you really know if your shades are blocking harmful ultraviolet radiation? By learning some simple “how to test sunglasses for UV protection” tricks, you can spare your eyes from damage and cataracts down the road.

In this quick guide, I’ll share actionable tips for examining lenses and labels so you can feel confident your eyes are safe from the sun’s rays.

No special tools needed – just a UV camera phone and some sneakier methods you may never have thought of. I promise it won’t be boring – you might even have fun doing these tests!

What to Look For in UV Protective Sunglasses

Here are the top factors that contribute to effective UV protection:

Lens material:

Polycarbonate lenses tend to block UV light better than plastic or glass lenses.

Lens color:

Darker lenses generally provide more UV protection. Green, brown, and gray offer the most UV blocking power.

Lens quality:

Cheap lenses are less likely to offer full UV protection. Look for durable, high-quality lenses.

Lens coatings:

Anti-reflective and mirrored coatings boost UV protection.

Frame coverage:

Larger frames that wrap around your face block more UV light from the sides.


Look for “UV absorption up to 400 nm” or “Blocks 99%/100% UV.”


How to Test Sunglasses for UV protection? 5 Simple Ways to Test

Don’t just take labeling at face value. Here are 5 DIY hacks for checking if your shades provide sufficient UVA/UVB protection:

1. Inspect for ANSI labeling

Flip over your sunglasses and look inside the temples for ANSI labeling. ANSI (Z80.3) means the lenses block at least 99% of UVB rays and 95% of UVA rays.

2. Shine a UV light on the lenses

In a dark room, shine the UV light directly on the lenses. If they block UV rays, they will not glow. Some glow means they offer partial protection. No glow means full protection.

3. Check for UV camera fluorescence

Many smartphones have a UV camera mode. Point your phone’s UV camera at the sunglasses lenses. Lack of fluorescence indicates full UV protection.

4. Do the sun test

Put on the sunglasses and look indirectly at bright sunlight reflected off a reflective surface like water, pavement, or snow. Properly protected eyes will not sense any sharp glare.

5. Seek third party validation

Look for sunglasses verified by third party testing like UL or ISO. This ensures they were properly tested for sufficient UV protection.

What Level of UV Protection Do Your Eyes Need?

Dermatologists recommend using sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, but there is no such standard for sunglasses. The right level of UV protection depends on your environment and exposure.

Here are some general guidelines:

General wear:

Look for sunglasses that block 99-100% of UVB and at least 95% of UVA.

High elevation:

At higher altitudes, UV exposure increases. Seek sunglasses that block 100% of UVB and UVA.

Water sports:

Water reflects more UV light. Opt for sunglasses that block 100% of UV.

Child protection:

Children’s developing eyes are more vulnerable to UV damage. Choose 100% UV blocking kid’s sunglasses.

When in doubt, more protection is better for long-term eye health.

Don’t Forget Your Eclipse Glasses!

One specialized use case for UV eye protection is viewing a solar eclipse. Never look directly at an eclipse without proper eye protection, like specially designed eclipse glasses. Regular sunglasses are not enough to protect your eyes from damage while staring at the sun.

Do Your Sunglasses Pass the UV Test?

Permanent eye damage from UV exposure builds up over your lifetime. Give your eyes the UV protection they deserve. Use these tips to test your current shades or find a new pair that fully blocks harmful rays. Your future eyes will thank you!

Also Read:

6 Easy Ways to Test Blue Light Glasses

How to Remove Scratches from Prescription Glasses with Coating? 

Frequently Asked Questions About Testing Sunglasses for UV Protection

Testing your sunglasses for UV protection ensures healthy eyes and vision. Here are answers to some common questions about evaluating tinted lenses:

Do more expensive sunglasses block more UV light?

Not necessarily. While cheap low-quality sunglasses likely have less UV protection, there are plenty of affordable sunglasses that offer full UV protection. And some higher end designer brands can lack sufficient protection. Check the labels and test the lenses rather than relying on price.


Do darker lenses block more UV light?

In general, yes. Darker tinted lenses block more UV light. But you can’t judge protection just by tint alone. Even with dark lenses, other factors like lens quality, materials, and coatings impact UV blocking capability.


Can contact lenses protect your eyes from UV damage?

No. Contact lenses do not provide sufficient protection against UV radiation. Always wear quality UV blocking sunglasses when out in the sun, even with contact lenses.


Do sunglasses protect against blue light from screens?

Not usually. Most regular sunglasses are not designed to filter out blue light from devices and screens. You’d need specialized computer glasses with blue light blocking lenses for that purpose.


Can I test for UV protection without special tools?

Yes. While a UV light is useful, you can test lenses for UV protection using items you have at home like a UV phone camera or reflective surfaces outside. Also inspect for proper ANSI labeling.



Now you’re equipped with insider knowledge for putting your sunglasses to the UV protection test! It’s easier than you think to check if your lenses block those damaging rays. Whenever you buy new shades or want to double-check your current pair, try out these handy techniques.

Safeguarding your eyes against UV exposure will pay off for years to come. And you can impress (or alarm) your friends with your newfound expertise. Maybe you’ll even become the go-to “how to test sunglasses for UV protection” guru in your social circle! Stay sunny, but make sure your eyes are safe behind 100% UV blocking lenses.

Walter Hendricks

Walter Hendricks is a well-known authority in the eyewear industry, specializing in a diverse range of products such as gaming glasses, swimming goggles, sunglasses, eyeglasses, computer glasses, and fashionable daily-wear eyewear.

Hendricks believes in empowering his readers with in-depth information to help them choose the right glasses that blend functionality and fashion, catering to their unique lifestyle requirements.

His comprehensive reviews and informative articles provide clear insights on everything from cutting-edge gaming glasses to the latest trends in eyewear fashion. Through his work, Hendricks has proven his dedication to helping consumers make informed eyewear decisions that support both their visual needs and style preferences.