If you’re thinking of buying a pair of sunglasses, there are a few facts you should know about what kind of protection you may be getting. And, that protection is not always related to the price.

Too much sunlight can cause sunburn of the eye’s cornea. We asked the FDA to help us understand what’s important about sunglasses and what to look for when you go shopping.

We know: Quick Facts Before You Buy Sunglasses

UV protection is what counts!

Finding sunglasses that help protect you from ultraviolet (UV) radiation is the most important consideration when buying sunglasses. There are basically two kinds of UV: UVA and UVB. You want a pair of sunglasses that help block both. Find sunglasses with a label that says the glasses offer 99 to100 percent UV protection. Go to an eye-care professional and have them tested if you’re not sure.

Do darker-tinted glasses give me more UV protection?

No. Tint and color are about your choice of how you want to see the world; THEY DON’T TELL YOU ABOUT UV PROTECTION. Check the label for information about UV protection. (For best color perception, professionals often recommend neutral gray, amber, brown or green.

Do expensive glasses offer more UV protection?

Not always. Look at the label, not the price tag, to determine UV protection.

If my contact lenses offer UV protection, do I still need to wear sunglasses?


Do wrap around sunglasses provide more UV protection?


Does the FDA regulate sunglasses?

Somewhat. Manufacturers who sell over-the-counter, nonprescription sunglasses can only claim their glasses reduce eye strain and eye fatigue due to glare. Any other claims, such as labels claiming UV protection, are supposed to be substantiated. (Although some manufacturers claim UV protection, without having substantiated their claim with the FDA.)

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