Many eyeglass wearers are fully aware that UV radiation can severely damage their eyes, but quite frequently they do not take adequate measures to protect their vision. There are various reasons for this. A lot of people who wear eyeglasses think that UV protection is only necessary in extremely bright sunlight. And even then, many of them only wear sunglasses some of the time. Or they own sunglasses but never wear them. Furthermore UV radiation is omnipresent – all day long, and even in the shade or when it is cloudy.
Thus ZEISS decided to go one step further, and in the future all ZEISS eyeglass lenses made of plastic – clear and tinted – will feature the same high level of UV protection up to a wavelength of 400 nm that goes beyond the requirements stipulated by the prevailing standards for corrective lenses. For sunglass lenses the common standard is already at 400 nm, but for clear lenses it ends at 380 nm.
Current industry standards define a wavelength of 380 nanometers as the upper limit for UV protection in clear eyeglass lenses. This means that, up until now, most lenses fall short of fully protecting a person's eye from high-energy UV radiation, which is still potent at wavelengths up to 400 nm in the spectral range and poses a risk to eye health. UV radiation damages and can accelerate aging of the eye, can cloud the lens as well as cause a 'sunburn' on the cornea (“Photokeratitis”) or can lead to skin cancer on the eyelids. That is why full UV protection is so important.
Around 40% of UV radiation that reaches the Earth is between 380 and 400 nanometers. In particular these long UV radiation waves penetrate more deeply into the tissue, making them a potential risk factor for cancer. Five to ten percent of all cases of skin cancer affects the eyelids; they are subjected to UV radiation on an ongoing basis. Lenses with full UV protection can help reduce this risk. UV radiation is a major factor in the development of different eye diseases such as cataract, i.e. a clouding of the lens which, if left untreated, can lead to blindness. But even before a cataract is diagnosed, it can slowly alter a person's vision, including reduced contrast or color perception.
To better protect the eyes and the tissue right around the eye, the wearer needs eyeglass lenses with UV absorption above 380 nm, and up to 400 nm. This also applies to clear eyeglasses lenses. UV protection is not a tint. Rather, it is the result of special technologies in the plastic lens material.