Both Sunglasses and Fashion Glasses are eyewear with dark lenses, but that’s where the difference lies too!


Our eyes are 10 times more sensitive to UV light than our skin. Every year 300 Australians are diagnosed with eye cancer.

If you are exposed to a lot of UV light you increase your risk of developing cancer and cataracts and macular degeneration. These eye diseases have been linked to prolonged UV exposure.


Good sunglasses protect your eyes from the harmful effects of the sun’s UV radiation.

Choosing sunglasses that protect your eyes from side and reflected UV is important as this type of light can cause pterygium – tissue that grows over the surface of your eye that not only affects what you look like, but how you see.

Your sunglasses should also help to reduce glare reflecting off of water or other surfaces. Polarised sunglasses are particularly effective a reducing glare from different surfaces.

Fashion Glasses

These glasses may have dark lenses but they’re not able to block UV radiation or reduce glare.

The cost of glasses is no indication of protection level, just because a pair of glasses is expensive doesn’t mean it offers more protection.

Australian Standards

A good pair of dark lens glasses should meet Australian Standards. The Standard AS/NZS 1067:2016 requires sunglasses and fashion glasses to meet performance requirements for providing protection and glare reduction.

There are four categories:

0          No UV protection

1          Low level of UV protection

2          Medium level of UV protection

3          High level of UV protection

4          Very high level of UV protection

You will find that most fashion glasses are not classified by the Australian Standard, which usually means they don’t provide any protection. Or they are in category 0 or 1 – and don’t provide adequate protection from UV rays.

To get maximum protection for your eyes, look at choosing sunglasses that have a category 2, 3 lens.

Category 2 and 3 sunglasses provide medium and high protection against sun glare, while category 4 sunglasses have very dark lenses that are created to use in extreme exposure situations, like mountain climbing in the snow.

Mirrored vs polarised lenses

If you are often out in situations with a lot of glare – for instance out on the water fishing – it’s a good idea to have sunglasses with polarised lenses.

Mirrored lenses have a mirror coating on the lens surface that reflects light reaching the eye which can greatly reduce glare.

Polarised lenses have a special filter that lets vertical light waves pass through them while blocking horizontal light waves – the ones that cause the glare.

If you’re unsure of which sunnies will best suit your lifestyle, ask your optometrist. They can help you choose the right pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays.