What do the categories in sunglasses lenses mean?


Sometimes we hear about different types of categories when it comes to sunglasses. What does it mean exactly? What are the differences between each category of sunglasses? It’s not related to anything but the lenses themselves. It doesn’t mean anything about the quality of the product or whether one type of category is better than another category. The categories of sunglasses lenses are only how much visible light they let through. 

We may believe that there are only clear lenses and sunglasses, and that’s it. All in or none. Yet there are different gradients based on your needs and exactly how much sunlight you want to block out and keep your vision as clear as possible. 

You might be grabbing the latest premium pair of sunglasses or prescription sunglasses, only to feel that they don’t seem dark enough when you take them outside. It’s all dependent on the coloring of those lenses. There are about five categories we’ll be going through, starting with the darkest category at category 4.

Category 4

Category 4 lenses are darker than your typical sunglasses. They are only used for maximum protection and typically have 100% protection against UVA / UVB and UVC rays. This is when you’re looking to reduce the glare to a maximum, and they are dark lenses that are unsuitable for driving. They could also include darker green lenses that are necessary for those that do welding work. They typically only let up to 8% visible light get through and can go even lower.

Category 3

Category 3 lenses are the standard sunglasses you may be used to. Sitting at the beach or by the pool in some tropical paradise, you’ll have those smoke-gray lenses to ensure you’re not squinting the whole day. Here we have more than 8% of visible light getting through, which can be about 20%.

Category 2

Category 2 lenses are not the best for protecting against the constant sun or its glare but may be optimal when you want a decent amount of protection on a partially cloudy day. In addition, it offers more stylish options, such as rose or blue-tinted glasses that add protection as well as style.

Category 1

When heading to Category 1, we’re looking at the lightest tint. These could be those yellow or orange-tinted glasses that one typically can see in shooting or hunting glasses that act more about providing clarity in a high-light situation than knocking out the glare completely. 

Then there are the clear lenses which could be the zero category that is typically clear lenses. There could be a tint to them. These lenses are more about protection common in our safety glasses line that focuses on impact and splash resistance and lenses that don’t fog up or scratch so that there’s always distortion-free vision possible. 

Regardless, at RX Safety you can get yourself a variety of tints on numerous frames and glasses. You can even build out your own prescription lenses or opt for photochromic lenses that give various gradients of tint based on how bright it is outside.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Our Blog

Stay on top of the latest news about prescription safety glasses, eyewear, sunglasses, and all the trends in the industry.


Sign up for our Newsletter

Be the first one to know about promotion, new products, and more.

Follow Us On Instagram @rx_safety

; ;