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An Explanation of Lens Categories

In order to determine how light or dark sunglasses lenses are, they are given a Category Rating ranging from 0 through to 4. The rule of thumb is the higher the number, the darker the lens colour.


The table below can be used to help you decide which lens category suits your needs.




Here at Shade Station, we recognise the importance of eye protection and therefore every pair of sunglasses we sell effectively filters out 100% of the harmful UVA and UVB rays, are CE certified and also comply with the European Directive 89/686/EEC in accordance with standard Pr-EN-1836:1997.


Back in July 1997, the voluntary British Standard for sunglasses was replaced by the European Standard BS EN 1836:1997. The result of this was that all sunglasses retailed within the EU by law, had to comply with the set standards in addition to the PPE Directive 89/686/EEC indicated by the CE mark. This has significantly raised the quality of sunglasses sold as the implications of establishing these standards has helped to remove some of the lower priced and lesser quality products from the market, particularly as the manufacturer or supplier must now be identified in the product labelling.


By setting these higher standards and enforcing the requirement of labelling the product, this will only assist to raising consumer awareness about the properties and lens quality of sunglasses. The elements which must now be clearly labelled include:-



The supplier may also wish to include further information including the optical class of the lenses, the level of durability and whether the sunglasses are suitable or geared towards specific or general sporting activities.


You will generally find that sunglasses designed for multi-purpose use fall within the 3rd Category whereas sunglasses designed specifically for driving are within the 2nd Category. Categories 0 and 1 are not designed to effectively reduce bright sun glare, however due to the Standard regulations, they will provide protection against UV rays due to the incorporation of UV absorbers in the lens. Historically the use of Category 0 was confined to lenses which darken the sun's rays and used specifically for fashion and aesthetic purposes. Recently however, this has slightly changed as a light tint can be found within Category 0 as well as Category 1.


Should you require further information on lenses of sunglasses our expert staff would be delighted to help you. Either call 0344 848 7878 or email [email protected]

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