How can UV rays damage your eyes?

Protecting your eyes from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays is just as important as protecting them from impact

Ultraviolet rays are invisible waves of electromagnetic radiation produced by the sun. They are transmitted in waves towards the earth's surface and form part of the electromagnetic (light) spectrum. UV rays are invisible to the naked eye with wavelengths shorter than that of visible light, but much higher energy levels.

UV is made up of 3 types of rays, UVA, UVB and UVC depending on the frequency of the waves. UVC rays have the highest energy levels with wavelengths of 100-280 nanometer (nm) but are absorbed by the earth's protective ozone layer. Both UVA and UVB rays penetrate the atmosphere and can cause conditions such as premature skin ageing, eye damage (including cataracts) and skin cancers.

Protecting your eyes from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays
UVA rays can pass through the cornea and reach the lens and retina

UVA rays (320–400 nm) can pass through the cornea and reach the lens and retina. Overexposure has been linked to the development of certain types of cataracts.

UVB rays are partially filtered by the ozone layer but some still reach the eye.

UVB rays (280–320 nm) are partially filtered by the ozone layer but some still reach the eye. They can cause corneal problems, distorted vision and a painful condition called 'snow blindness'.

UVC rays are potentially the most harmful to your eyes

UVC rays (100–280 nm) are potentially the most harmful to your eyes and skin but fortunately the atmosphere's ozone layer blocks virtually all UVC rays.

Protecting your eyes with uvex

Even though our eyes are equipped with their own defence system, this alone is not enough to protect them from harmful UV rays. Reflexes like squinting and pupil dilation are only triggered by the sun’s visible light, meaning on cloudy days the amount of UV light reaching your unguarded eye can be dangerous. Highly reflective surfaces like water, snow and glass reflect a significant amount of UV radiation and UV can even be a risk when working indoors, particularly in workplaces where artificial UV lamps are used.

The uvex brand has always been synonymous with optimum protection against UV radiation. For many years now, we have been providing advanced eyewear technology, such as UV400, as standard and all uvex safety glasses offer 100% UVA, UVB and UVC protection.

The name UVEX stands for UltraViolet EXcluded

Old uvex logo
uvex UV400 protection

uvex UV400 — 100% protection against UVB and UVA radiation

Most industrial safety eyewear only complies with the industry standard, which prescribes protection up to 380 nanometres (nm). The latest scientific findings show that this is not enough with the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommending UV protection up to 400 nm. Protection up to 380 nm offers 100% protection against UVB rays, but only provides partial protection against equally dangerous UVA radiation.

uvex UV400:

  • filters all UVA rays (at 380 nm, 20% of damaging UVA still passes through the lenses)
  • minimises the thermal impact on cells (10 times greater in the 380-400nm range) which can damage and alter the cell structure
  • reduces aggressive blue light content (HEV), which is harmful to the retina, by 15%
  • protects the eyes and surrounding skin from dangerous long-term damage.
uvex UV400 offers complete protection against UV rays up to 400nm

uvex UV400 — included in all uvex safety eyewear

UV light isn’t part of the visible light spectrum, so blocking UV rays is different to needing a shaded lens on a bright sunny day. Wearing the right safety spectacles will give your eyes the extra protection they need to filter out the dangerous UV rays in sunlight, protecting your eyes for years to come.

Whether you choose clear or tinted lenses, all uvex safety eyewear is equipped with uvex UV400 effective UV protection as standard - as well as being highly comfortable, sporty in design and featuring top-quality scratch-resistant and anti-fog lens coatings.

uvex safety glasses offer 100% UVA, UVB and UVC protection

Clear lenses
Suitable for most light environments.

Grey sunglare lenses
Suitable for when sunlight and glare may be a hazard.

Amber lenses
Light enhancing effect suitable for low light and artificial light conditions.

CBR65 lenses
Ideal for working under harsh light conditions or changing light environments.

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Learn more about UV protection

Risks associated with blue light

Watch our UV400 video

Watch our UV400 video

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uvex CBR65 lens tint technology