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How do I know if Ray-Bans have 100% UV protection?

woman wearing Ray-ban sunglasses looking up at sun

Sure, you want genuine, original Ray-Bans. Who wouldn’t? Ray-Ban practically invented the idea of letting your sunglasses reveal your sense of style.  

But you have to keep your eyes on the big picture. The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause serious, even permanent, eye damage — especially if you spend long hours in the sun. Ray-Bans may have the fashion side of things down cold, but what will they do to protect your vision? 

Well, all Ray-Ban sunglass frames promise 100% UV protection. If you’re not sure why UV protection is so important to preserving your eyesight, these questions will help clear things up. 

What is ultraviolet (UV) light? 

Ultraviolet light is an invisible form of solar radiation measured on the electromagnetic (EM) spectrum, which also documents the wavelengths of X-rays, gamma rays, infrared, visible light and other kinds of radiation.   

Why do my eyes need UV protection? 

Exposure to UV radiation threatens human tissues — including your eyes. UV rays also lead to cataracts, macular degeneration and many more eye diseases that may result in blindness. 

Moreover, UV exposure can cause skin cancer, often on the eyelids and near the eye sockets

Thus, avoiding UV rays is central to eye health. After all, permanent vision damage can cause massive disruption to your lifestyle.  

How can I tell if my sunglasses are UV protected?

Some Ray-Ban product descriptions mention “100% UV protection.” That means the shades block all of the dangerous UV rays that would otherwise reach your eyes and the skin around them. Don’t worry, however, if you don’t see this exact language on the product description: As we mentioned, all Ray-Bans have 100% UV protection. 

Some brands of sunglasses might include words like “100% protection against UV400.” UV400 refers to the highest wavelength of ultraviolet radiation on the EM spectrum. Lenses can be coated or formulated to block all radiation up to that wavelength.   

Is 100% UV protection enough?

Just as a coffee cup can’t be more than 100% full, there’s no way to improve upon 100% UV protection. Thus, it has to be enough. Note that UV radiation comes in three varieties: UVA, UVB and UVC. Sunglasses that claim 100% UV protection should block all three.  

That’s not the whole story, though, because the shape of your eyeglasses influences UV exposure.

Wraparound sunglasses, for instance, typically offer more UV protection than conventional shades. That’s why so many pro golfers and beach volleyball players who spend hours in the direct sun wear wraparounds. Thus, extending 100% UV protection across more of your face is an excellent idea.  

Why do I need polarized sunglasses? 

When sun rays bounce off a flat surface, they create bright reflections that obscure your field of vision. If you see blinding glare when driving into the late-afternoon sun after a rain shower, that’s polarization at work.   

Polarized sunglasses filter out this glare, reducing eye strain, clarifying the visual field and making scenic vistas like beaches and mountain ranges seem prettier. Thus, polarized sunglasses can improve the experience of outdoor activities like driving, hiking, skiing and tourism. '

Polarization is not a cure-all — it can be dangerous in a few situations.    

Are all Ray-Ban sunglasses polarized?

Most Ray-Ban sunglass styles — including the classic Aviators and Wayfarers — are available with polarized lenses. But do not assume all Ray-Bans are polarized. 

You have to make sure the model you’re buying is in fact polarized. Polarized Ray-Ban sunglasses have the letter “P” in cursive script next to the Ray-Ban logo on one of the lenses.

When you’re shopping for polarized sunglasses, remember that wearing Ray-Bans is a statement of fashion preference — not necessarily a choice of sporting gear. If you need skin-hugging frames while running a 10K or playing softball all afternoon, Ray-Bans might not offer the most protection.  

Do polarized lenses block UVA and UVB rays?

No. Polarized lenses have no effect on ultraviolet radiation. However, the lenses of high-quality polarized sunglasses often do block UVA and UVB rays. 

Always double-check the product information, however.

READY TO SHOP FOR RAY-BANS? Find an optical store near you or online.

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Tom Mangan

Tom Mangan is a veteran freelance writer with more than 20 years of newspaper journalism experience. Though most of Mangan's clients are in the B2B technology sector these days, he brings ... Read more