Purchase this article with an account.
Mitul Mehta, Mohamed Mohamed, Hosik Hwang, James Jester; Blue light transmission of commercially available sunglasses. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2017;58(8):1128.
Download citation file:
© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Nonprescription sunglasses are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and required to conform to safety standards. The U.S. standard is American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Z80.3-2015, which requires the lens to have a UVB (280 to 315 nm) transmittance of no more than 1% and a UVA (315 to 380 nm) transmittance of no more than 0.3X visual light transmittance. The possible association of blue light with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) has led to the promotion of so-called blue-blocking lenses. These lenses absorb radiation in the band 400 nm to 500 nm. The purpose of this study is to compare the short wavelength visible light transmittance properties of different commercially available sunglasses.
Thorlabs compact CCD spectrometer CCS200 was used for measuring transmittance of 6 different sunglasses in ambient sunlight. Each sunglass was given a code number from 1 to 6 (Table 1). The measurements were recorded on November 12 2016 at noon time under a cloudless sky. The location was in Irvine, California (Latitude: 33.6839° N, Longitude: 117.7947° W). Trace recordings were obtained for unfiltered sunlight as a reference, and then for sunlight filtered through each sunglass. Transmittance of each sunglass was calculated as a percentage using Thorlabs OSA software version 2.00 at 380 nm through 490 nm wavelengths with 10 nm intervals.
Short wavelength transmission was variable among different sunglasses. While most blocked more than 80% of all wavelengths less than 490 nm, some transmitted up to 30%. Specifically 2 sunglasses did not meet ANSI requirement of blocking UV light. Polarized sunglasses did better than non-polarized ones in blocking short wavelength light. Sunglass no. 1 is the only sunglass specifically marketed as a blue blocker, and it did better than all the others in blocking short wavelength light (Table 2).
Our results show variability in short wavelength visible light transmission between different commercially available sunglasses. We propose that blue light transmission properties should be included in labelling of sunglasses, especially those used by early AMD patients as a caution against progression to more advanced stages.
This is an abstract that was submitted for the 2017 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Baltimore, MD, May 7-11, 2017.
This PDF is available to Subscribers Only