Everything You Need to Know About UV Rays and Your Tymber Shades
If you’ve been following the blog for some time or just popped into the About Us page, you know that here at Tymber we pride ourselves at being one of the most (if not the most) eco-friendly sunglass company on the planet. But that’s not all we stand for.
While we have long spanning goals of helping the environment and protecting our planet, we also wanted to make shades that were very unique--and darnit, they must float on water. These are all essential elements of our mission here at Tymber. Yet we didn’t stop at shielding the planet against pollution.
We wanted to give you the best protection against harmful UV Rays as well. After all, sunglasses exist to shield your eyes against damage from the sun. But it dawned on us that not everyone understands the complicated nomenclature of this business.
If you’re in the sunglasses industry or an ophthalmologist, then this is old hat for you. But most of us aren’t in the business of manufacturing the best wood frame shades on the planet. So we thought it might be useful to explain some of the terms and underscore why Tymber Shades don’t just look cool--they protect your eyes from harmful sun damage too.
A Defining of Terms
Let’s start with the basics. When it comes to sunglasses, one of the first and most important aspects to consider is what kinds of lens protection the shades offer for your eyes.
I know. This isn’t the first place I go either.
Typically, I start by trying them on, or at least imagining what they would look like on my face. Then I consider the style. Is this too flashy for me? Does this make me look like a jerk or does it make me look hip? What’s in fashion this summer?
Well, let me tell you, those are all important too, but I think we have most of that part covered.
As far as Tymber Shades are concerned, these are about the most unique pair of sunglasses you will ever own. And with four different styles to choose from, there’s plenty of style options.
Finally, if you’re worried about a pair of Tymber Shades fitting your head size, fear no more. All of our shades come with Spring Hinges designed to fit any shape and size head. Personally, I have a particularly large nogging, and I’m pleased to say that our spring hinges make it so that all of our variety of Shades fit even someone like me quite nicely.
So once you get those aesthetic and fitment issues out of the way, you really do need to consider eye protection.
We aren’t talking about protecting your eyes during industrial activities, like welding. We aren’t even thinking about things like saw dust shooting into your face while cutting boards. Rather we are thinking about the sun here.
It seems like such a mundane thing: the sun. We see it every day. We experience it’s sunlight, feel the warmth of it on our skin. But how much do we really consider what those rays are doing to us and the harm they can cause? Or even the science behind the heat caused by these light waves?
Well, we aren’t going to get too overly technical here, but we do feel like it is important for anyone shopping for sunglasses to realize what it is they are buying. After all, as we’ve discussed before, not all shades are created equal.
Protecting your Eyes
When it comes to sunglass selection, one of the aspects you should be most aware of is UV ratings or UV protection. Just when you thought a pair of sunglasses were a pair of sunglasses, you may come to find out that the average shade might not be doing all that much to protect your delicate ocular nerves.
I used to think that most sunglasses did this, but you actually need to pay attention to the ratings of the lenses when you purchase.
For starters, lens filters come in up to five different ratings, typically presented as Roman numerals I through V.
Let’s run through the various variations of lens filters to make sure you are getting the right protection for the activity you are performing:
Filter Class I
As far as sun protection goes, class I doesn’t even meet the bare minimum. These types of glasses are most typically sports protection, not sunglasses. They are often colorless or have a very light filter of upwards of 20%. Designed to keep dust and debris out of your eyes, the limited filtering on class I glasses means they will not block out any harmful UV rays from the sun.
You’ve likely seen these types of eyewear before though. They are quite common among indoor sports in order to protect players’ eyes. Consider the basketball player who also wears eyeglasses to see. Oftentimes these individuals will also sport a pair of class I protection glasses or goggles over the top of their regular glasses. Likewise, football players who play in an enclosed dome often have this class of eyewear protection installed into their helmets to prevent accidental eye damage during play.
While these styles of glasses do a great job of keeping physical debris including other players’ fingers out of your ocular cavity, they do very little to nil at preventing harmful UV rays from reaching your eyes.
It is unlikely that you have ever owned a pair of shades that have this particular class rating, as most shades have more filtering than these, which range from none to 20%.
Filter Class II
This next class though I fear too many of us have likely sported, thinking we were protecting our eyes. Class II filtered shades are typically orange or yellow in tint. They are designed for working the shade or on particularly cloudy days. Some cheaper sunglasses, like those you might find at the local gas station, are of this particularly poor quality.
This class of filter only blocks out up to 57% of the sun’s harmful rays. This means, if you are rocking a cheap-o pair of shades, you might be taking nearly half of the UV rays right into your eyes.
This might not sound like that big of a deal, especially if you live in a particularly shady area. If it is cloudy where you reside regularly or it rains a lot, you might think you can get by with this kind of limited protection. But here’s something most shade manufacturers just won’t tell you. These poorly designed, limited filtering sunglasses let most UVA and UVB sun rays through. And even on a cloudy day, you are constantly being bombarded with both of these types of UV rays from the sun.
Clouds are capable of blocking out the visible light rays, but most of the invisible rays, including a large part of the spectrum of UVA and UVB rays, still get through. This is why even on a cloudy day you can get a tan in the summer. Clouds don’t block out harmful rays. Sunscreen and a good pair of sunglasses though can.
You need to know this in order to protect yourself from ocular damage and of course sun-burn that could lead to skin and other types of cancer down the road.
Again, these poor shades could be okay for particular instances, such as indoor activities and indirect sunlight situations. I wear a pair of blue light filtering glasses everyday when I’m working on the computer or even playing video games. These styles of shades, which used to mostly be yellow or orange, are also of this quality and class. While blue light filter glasses are great and have helped to eliminate eye strain for me as well as stop headaches from working too long (or playing games too long) on the computer, these styles of glasses, which typically fall into the range of class II, only block out blue light in the ranges of 380 to 440 or even upwards of 500 nm. This means that UV rays, which are below the 400 nm level, still get through.
Of course, I would never dream of wearing my blue light filtering glasses outside to protect against the sun, and neither should you. For that you need a high quality pair of sunglasses, not some cheap ones from some dollar store.
I would like to say though, while we are on the subject, no matter what some eye professionals say concerning the research, my blue light filtering glasses have drastically reduced my eye strain at work, practically eliminated headaches from overuse of digital devices, such as my phone or computer, and I believe I sleep better from using them while working. That’s just my personal anecdotal information, but it appears from some research online that I’m not alone. If you are suffering from digital eye strain, I would recommend you try out a pair.
Filter Class III
Finally, we reach the class that a large majority of more affordable shades fall into: Class III Filtration. And while this class protects your eyes more than the super cheap-o Class II shades, it still isn’t quite up to the standards of Tymber Shades.
If Class II shades are $5 cheap plastic gas station sunglasses, then you might imagine the Class III variety to be the $8 to $10 range, and you wouldn’t be that far off. However, you would also be shocked at how many online alternative sunglasses and even so called “higher” grade sunglasses actually sport this classification of filter rating. It turns out that these lenses, after all, are a bit cheaper to make, so certain manufacturers, looking to increase profit margin and cut corners, opt for these sub-par protective lenses.
Now these style of filters don’t let through as much UV light as Class II or under, but they still don’t block as much as your eye-doctor would recommend on a sunny day. Whereas Class II were designed more to block out blue light and such, these Class III shades do a pretty decent job of blocking out harmful rays during the periods of the year when the sun isn’t hitting your section of the earth as directly: like in the fall or early spring. These style of filters also work fairly well on cloudy days or when you are spending a lot of time in the shade.
But as we stated before, one has to be careful about opting for sub-par protection like these lens filters offer. Remember that UV rays penetrate things like clouds and even many thin tree canopies. We put you in dense jungle all day, these might be just fine. But if you are in the typical park here in the US or in your backyard, even on a cloudy day, you’re still getting a solid dose of UVA and UVB rays.
And remember while these harmful rays are best known for causing skin cancer, they can do some major damage to your eyes as well. So having the appropriate eyewear is a must.
At the end of the day, sunglasses that fall into this filtration class are capable of blocking up to 82% of the suns harmful rays at the upper end of the range. But on the other end, they may only block around 57 or 58%, which is pretty abysmal, really, when it comes to eyewear protection.
Yet again, choosing the right shade is about style and fashion, but you need to also be mindful of UV protection.
For all of these reasons, we here at Tymber Shades would never sell you these cheaper classification of lens filters. We only offer top quality lenses with the maximum filtration gradient allowed for driving on the road. Which brings us to…
Filter Class IV
When it comes to Tymber Shades, we don’t settle for second best. When selecting the perfect classification of lens filtration, we didn’t stop until we reached the very top. And that, my friends, is Class IV, the strongest filter class that you can legally wear while driving down the road in the States.
While we are not the only sunglass manufacturers who maintain this standard of production, we certainly are one of the best because we know that you are just like us, you would never settle for second best. The only filter class higher than this one is forbidden for roadway travel, so it simply isn’t an option for sunglasses.
At Class IV, our lenses shield your eyes from upwards of 92% of the sun’s harmful rays just from filtration alone. Even on the lower end of this class, at least 82% of the sun’s light is blocked out. And we stand by these high level protections. Anything higher and you’d be getting into welding goggle ranges.
We feel like our customers need to know the quality of products they are getting when you purchase a pair of our sunglasses. And it is for these reasons that we only use the highest quality polarized sunglass lenses.
And we didn’t stop there.
As I just casually dropped in there, all of our lenses are polarized. This means that they not only are class IV filtration lenses, but they also reduce glare on top of that and the polarization process makes it easier to see during intense lighting conditions, such as when you are driving or boating or just hanging out on the beach on a bright sunny day.
But we still weren’t done just yet.
Category UV 400
Here at Tymber, even when it seems like we’ve reached the top, we don’t stop there. We climb ever higher.
Not only do we use the highest class filtration lens, but we also only use UV400 category lenses. These high quality filters actually block out every harmful UV ray measuring 400 nm and lower.
That means, if you’re rocking our shades, your eyes are protected from not just UVA and UVB rays, but even any stray UVC rays that might be coming at you (which is highly unlikely since UVC rays from the sun are absorbed by the atmosphere, though they can come from other sources too).
This is when you know you’ve made the best quality shade you can produce. Our Tymber Shades block out the entire spectrum of UV light, preventing any of the sun’s harmful rays from damaging your cornea.
If you’re going to do something, you might as well do it right and make the best product possible. And that’s just what we accomplished. And while we provide the highest quality of eyewear protection when it comes to UV light, we also priced our shades at an affordable level, so that anyone looking to protect their eyes and look stylish this summer can afford to do so.
We hope you learned a little bit about the various levels of eyewear protection that are available to you, and that the next time you pick up a pair of shades, you’ll rock some Tymbers.
Stay safe out there, ya’ll, and enjoy those sunny days.