Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors
Filter by Categories
15th National Conference of the IAOMFP, Chennai, 2006
Abstracts from current literature
Acne in India: Guidelines for management - IAA Consensus Document
Art & Psychiatry
Association Activities
Association Notes
Award Article
Book Review
Brief Report
Case Analysis
Case Letter
Case Letters
Case Notes
Case Report
Case Reports
Clinical and Laboratory Investigations
Clinical Article
Clinical Studies
Clinical Study
Conference Oration
Conference Summary
Continuing Medical Education
Cosmetic Dermatology
Current Best Evidence
Current Issue
Current View
Derma Quest
Dermato Surgery
Dermatosurgery Specials
Dispensing Pearl
Do you know?
Drug Dialogues
Editor Speaks
Editorial Remarks
Editorial Report
Editorial Report - 2007
Editorial report for 2004-2005
Fourth All India Conference Programme
From Our Book Shelf
From the Desk of Chief Editor
Get Set for Net
Get set for the net
Guest Article
Guest Editorial
How I Manage?
IADVL Announcement
IADVL Announcements
IJDVL Awards
IJDVL Awards 2018
IJDVL Awards 2019
IJDVL Awards 2020
IJDVL International Awards 2018
Images in Clinical Practice
In Memorium
Inaugural Address
Knowledge From World Contemporaries
Leprosy Section
Letter in Response to Previous Publication
Letter to Editor
Letter to the Editor
Letter to the Editor - Case Letter
Letter to the Editor - Letter in Response to Published Article
Letter to the Editor - Observation Letter
Letter to the Editor - Study Letter
Letter to the Editor - Therapy Letter
Letter to the Editor: Articles in Response to Previously Published Articles
Letters in Response to Previous Publication
Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor - Letter in Response to Previously Published Articles
Letters to the Editor: Case Letters
Letters to the Editor: Letters in Response to Previously Published Articles
Medicolegal Window
Miscellaneous Letter
Net Case
Net case report
Net Image
Net Letter
Net Quiz
Net Study
New Preparations
News & Views
Observation Letter
Observation Letters
Original Article
Original Contributions
Pattern of Skin Diseases
Pediatric Dermatology
Pediatric Rounds
Presedential Address
Presidential Address
Presidents Remarks
Report of chief editor
Report of Hon : Treasurer IADVL
Report of Hon. General Secretary IADVL
Research Methdology
Research Methodology
Resident page
Resident's Page
Resident’s Page
Residents' Corner
Residents' Corner
Residents' Page
Review Article
Review Articles
Reviewers 2022
Revision Corner
Self Assessment Programme
Seminar: Chronic Arsenicosis in India
Seminar: HIV Infection
Short Communication
Short Communications
Short Report
Special Article
Specialty Interface
Study Letter
Study Letters
Symposium - Contact Dermatitis
Symposium - Lasers
Symposium - Pediatric Dermatoses
Symposium - Psoriasis
Symposium - Vesicobullous Disorders
Symposium Aesthetic Surgery
Symposium Dermatopathology
Symposium-Hair Disorders
Symposium-Nails Part I
Symposium-Nails-Part II
Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses
Systematic Reviews and Meta-analysis
Therapeutic Guideline-IADVL
Therapeutic Guidelines
Therapeutic Guidelines - IADVL
Therapy Letter
Therapy Letters
View Point
What’s new in Dermatology
View/Download PDF

Translate this page into:

Original Article
doi: 10.4103/0378-6323.30647
PMID: 17314443

Ultraviolet protective properties of branded and unbranded sunglasses available in the Indian market in UV phototherapy chambers

Atul M Dongre, Gitanjali G Pai, Uday S Khopkar
 Department of Dermatology, Seth G S Medical College and KEM Hospital, Parel, Mumbai, India

Correspondence Address:
Uday S Khopkar
Department of Dermatology, Seth G S Medical College and KEM Hospital, Parel, Mumbai - 400012
How to cite this article:
Dongre AM, Pai GG, Khopkar US. Ultraviolet protective properties of branded and unbranded sunglasses available in the Indian market in UV phototherapy chambers. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol 2007;73:26-28
Copyright: (C)2007 Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology, and Leprology


Background: Patients receiving phototherapy for various dermatoses are at increased risk of eye damage due to ultraviolet (UV) rays. They are prescribed UV protective sunglasses by dermatologists but their exact protecting effects are not known. Aim: To study the ultraviolet protective properties of branded and unbranded UV protective sunglasses available in the Indian market, in UV phototherapy chambers. Methods: Sixteen different branded and unbranded UV protective sunglasses were collected from two opticians in Mumbai. Baseline irradiance of the UV chamber was calculated by exposing the photosensitive probe of UV photometer in the chamber. Then, the photosensitive probe of the UV photometer was covered with the UV protective glass to be studied and irradiance was noted. Such readings were taken for each of the UV protective sunglasses. The percentage reduction in the UV rays' penetration of different UV protective sunglasses was calculated. Results: Thirteen sunglasses provided > 80% reduction in UVA rays penetration, of which four were branded (out of the four branded studied) and nine were unbranded (out of the 12 unbranded studied). More than 70% reduction in UVB penetration was provided by 12 sunglasses, which included 10 unbranded and two branded sunglasses. Conclusion: All branded sunglasses provided good protection against UVA penetration, but UVB protection provided by both branded and unbranded sunglasses was not satisfactory. A few unbranded sunglasses had poor efficacy for UVA and UVB spectra; one branded glass had poor efficacy for protection against the UVB spectrum. The efficacy of sunglasses used for phototherapy should be assessed before use.
Keywords: Irradiance, Phototherapy, Ultraviolet protective sunglasses, UVA, UVB
Branded ultraviolet protective sunglasses
Branded ultraviolet protective sunglasses
Unbranded ultraviolet protective sunglasses
Unbranded ultraviolet protective sunglasses


Ultraviolet (UV) rays are known to cause ocular damage, which may be acute, with immediate signs and symptoms. Cumulative UV exposure can cause cataract and damage the retina. Prolonged ocular exposure to UVB is known to cause posterior subcapsular and cortical cataract, pterygium, climatic droplet keratopathy and photokeratitis.[1]

Phototherapy and photochemotherapy are widely used to treat psoriasis, vitiligo and many other dermatoses. Patients receiving PUVA/PUVASOL or UVB therapy are exposed to UV rays for prolonged periods, increasing the risk of eye damage. To protect against this, UV blocking sunglasses are advised during and after UV exposure. While branded and unbranded ultraviolet protective sunglasses (UVPS) are available in the Indian market, most patients use unbranded locally made sunglasses. However, the quality of UV protection they provide from UV rays has not been studied nor is such information available from manufacturers or suppliers.

We studied the efficacy of 16 types of unbranded and branded UV protective sunglasses available in the Indian market in providing protection from UV rays.


Samples of UVPS, both branded and unbranded, available at two representative opticians in Mumbai were collected. Their details, such as brand name, manufacturer′s particulars, price and whether provided with side shields, were noted.

Taking due precautions, one of the authors (AD) measured the baseline UV irradiance with a UV photometer (Lutron-TaiwanTM product nos. L 983506, L 983538 for UVB and UVA respectively). The UV photometer was kept in the center of a UVA and a UVB chamber at a distance of 17 inches from the UV light source. The UVB chamber was a narrow band, full body chamber supplied by M/s DermaIndiaTM (Spiegel UVB 24 series), while the UVA chamber was an octagonal full body chamber supplied by M/s Dermtech InstrumentsTM. Five such readings were noted at various angles in the chamber, each time after exposing the UV photometer to UV rays for 30 seconds and by choosing the maximum constant UV photometer reading. Their average was calculated to arrive at the baseline UV irradiance.

The photosensitive probe of the UV photometer (both UVA and UVB meters were used sequentially) was then covered with each of the UV protective sunglasses to be tested taking care that there was no gap between the probe window and the lens. An average of five such readings, were taken for each sunglasses. Such readings were taken for both UVA and UVB (narrow band) chambers. The percentage reduction of UV rays was calculated. The percentage reduction in UV irradiance was compared by tabulating the results. The results were summarized using statistical measures of dispersion.


Of the 16 UV protective sunglasses studied, four were manufactured by well-known companies, while twelve were locally made, including three unnamed ones. Five of the sunglasses had side protection.

[Table - 1],[Table - 2] summarize the details of reduction of penetration of UV rays observed. The mean reduction in UVA penetration was 84.89% and that in UVB penetration was 68.74%. The maximum protection offered for UVA was 98.05% and the lowest was 50.6%. For UVB, the maximum reduction was 76.2% and the lowest was 51.71%. More than 90% reduction in UVA penetration was provided by nine sunglasses and more than 70% reduction, by 12 sunglasses. For both UVA and UVB, about 50% reduction was seen with three sunglasses.

Thirteen sunglasses (all the four branded ones studied and nine unbranded ones) provided > 80% reduction in UVA rays. More than 70% reduction in UVB penetration was provided by 12 sunglasses (10 unbranded and two branded sunglasses). Some well-known brands of sunglasses claiming UV protection did not protect well against the UVB spectrum [Table - 2]. Some unbranded (nos. 1, 3 and 12 in [Table - 1]) sunglasses provided dangerously low protection against both UVA and UVB rays.


Since 8-methoxypsoralen (8-MOP) remains not only in the skin but also in the lens of the eye after PUVA treatment, wearing protective sunglasses only during UV irradiation is not sufficient; patients have to wear them outdoors as well.[1] Sunlight and PUVA bulbs have a similar irradiance in the UVA waveband.[2]

Both tinted and clear UVPS are available for protection against UV rays. Wearing tinted UVPS may be inconvenient because they can interfere with color perception, reduce definition in conditions of low background light and may be cosmetically unacceptable.[3] Nearly all the commercially available UVPS in India are colored, thus reducing the intensity of visible light entering the eye; hence, the pupils remain dilated, resulting in more UVA rays reaching the lens, which would not happen with uncolored or untinted sunglasses.

The efficacy of sunglasses in protecting against UV rays depends on their size, shape, wearing position and reflection from the posterior lens surface.[4] Small sunglasses may not offer ideal UV protection. Similarly, fancy shapes that allow light to enter from the sides or ill-fitting sunglasses afford poor protection. Internationally, the Australian Sunglass Standard, first published in 1971, recommended that UVPS should be made of materials that are not flammable and with an optical quality similar to that of prescription spectacles. The European Sunglass Standard is followed in European countries.

In a study of 32 pairs of inexpensive UVPS, Rosenthal et al . found the transmission of UVB rays through these sunglasses to be less than 2%.[5] However, in measurements performed with mannikins wearing the UVPS, up to 14.1% of the incident UVR had passed through the eyes. Moreover, when the UVPS were moved 6mm from the forehead, the percentage of light reaching the eyes increased alarmingly up to as much as three-fold.[5] These facts indicate that the UV protection provided by UVPS is not absolute and that the eyes should be closed at all times during exposure in a UV chamber.

When we compared the branded and unbranded sunglasses available in the Indian market, some unbranded sunglasses were found to be more UV protective than the more popular branded ones. However, a few of the unbranded ones [Table - 1] provided very little (about 50%) protection in both the UVA and UVB spectra. On the other hand, all branded sunglasses provided reasonably good protection against UVA rays.

These findings are similar to those of Leow et al . from the National Skin Centre, Singapore, who, in a study of 34 pairs of UVPS, found that expensive brands do not guarantee optimal UVA protection.[6] Similarly, Semes et al . found no association between UVA absorbance and lens material or cost.[7] Velpandian et al . studied the UV protective properties of sunglasses available in the Indian market and concluded that 75% of them did not satisfy the protection criteria laid down by the US FDA.[8]

Hence, it can be concluded that both branded and unbranded sunglasses may be used during phototherapy. Branding is no proof of protection from UV rays. The efficacy of these sunglasses should be assessed by the simple method using a photometer that we have mentioned. With practice, the readings and calculation for one pair of UVPS take only 5 min.

The variability in the UV protection properties of the UVPS examined in this study is alarming. This indicates a need for developing a mechanism for certification of standards of quality of these sunglasses for purposes of phototherapy. The United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia and France have standards for UVPS. AS/NZS 1067 is the only mandatory sunglass standard in the world. The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) developed an eye protection factor (EPF) where UVPS that comply with AS/NZS 1067:2003 can be assigned an EPF rating from 1 to 10. The UVPS with EPF values of 9 and 10 transmit almost no UVR. The Bureau of Indian Standards has standards only for eye protection gear for miners. We recommend that they add guidelines for the quality of UVPS and offer certification for it[9].

Deleu H, Roelandts R. Protecting the eye from ultraviolet. A radiation during photochemotherapy. Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed 1990;7:233-6.
[Google Scholar]
Morison WL, Strickland PT. Environmental UVA radiation and eye protection during PUVA therapy. J Am Acad Dermatol 1983;9:522-5.
[Google Scholar]
Moseley H, Jones SK. Clear ultraviolet blocking lenses for use by PUVA patients. Br J Dermatol 1990;123:775-81.
[Google Scholar]
Sakamoto Y, Kojima M, Sasaki K. Effectiveness of eye sunglasses for protection against ultraviolet rays. Nippon Ganka Gakkai Zasshi 1999;103:379-85.
[Google Scholar]
Rosenthal FS, Bakalian AE, Lou CQ, Taylor HR. The effect of sunsunglasses on ocular exposure to ultraviolet radiation. Am J Public Health 1988;78:72-4.
[Google Scholar]
Leow YH, Tham SN. UV-protective sun sunglasses for UVA irradiation protection. Int J Dermatol 1995;34:808-10.
[Google Scholar]
Semes L. UV-A absorbing characteristics of commercial sun sunglasses intended for recreational and general use. J Am Optom Assoc 1991;62:754-8.
[Google Scholar]
Velpandian T, Ravi AK, Kumari SS, Biswas NR, Tewari HK, Ghose S. Protection from ultraviolet radiation by spectacle lenses available in India: A comparative study. Natl Med J India 2005;18:242-4.
[Google Scholar]
Sunglasses and protection from solar ultraviolet radiation. [cited on 2007 Jan 4]. Available from:
[Google Scholar]

Fulltext Views

PDF downloads
Show Sections