Sunglasses – What You Must Know

This post is the second of SwimInSG’s 3-part series on sun protection.

Do you know that UV rays can cause cataracts, cancer of the eye, and even blindness? If you do not want to increase your risk of getting the abovementioned medical problems, you should definitely read on!

Sunglasses – How They Work

When you are under the sun on a bright and sunny day, the iris in your eye will constrict to reduce the amount of light reaching your cornea. When you put on a pair of sunglasses, the iris will dilate (open up) to allow more light to enter. The darker the tint of your lenses, the more your iris will dilate to allow light in (up to a comfortable level).

A label that you will commonly see when purchasing sunglasses is “UV 400”. This means that the lenses on the sunglasses can protect your eyes from both UVA and UVB rays.

Cheap vs. Imitation

There is nothing wrong with wearing a pair of cheap sunglasses. Brands such as Oakley and Ray-Ban are expensive as they spend a lot on marketing and branding, and these costs are being passed on to consumers. A pair of cheap sunglasses from a lesser-known brand may offer as much protection as a pair of Ray-Ban.

However, the problem lies with wearing a pair of imitation sunglasses. While they may be cheap and look as good as the real thing, it is actually very bad for your eyes. Most of the time, imitations will have the same “UV 400” label, but it actually does not provide UV protection. What you are paying for would probably be just for lenses that are tinted, and nothing more.

When you put on that pair of imitation sunglasses, it still protects your eyes from intense sunlight, and causes your iris to dilate. What this means is that by putting on that pair of imitation sunglasses, you are subjecting your eyes to greater risk than when you do not put on any sunglasses at all!

But I Wear Contact Lenses With UV Protection!

There are contact lenses that offer UV protection for the eye. However, as the manufacturer clearly states:

contact lens uv protection
Retrieved from on 3 Oct. 15

Now that you know about the risk of wearing sunglasses without UV protection, be sure to only buy sunglasses from reputable sellers, and throw out any pair of sunglasses without UV protection you may have. Don’t forget to share this piece of information with your loved ones as well 🙂