Do Sunglasses Expire?

In 2016, a study out of Brazil claimed that under controlled and intense exposure to UV light, the UV protection in sunglasses degrades noticeably over time. The study ended with a recommendation to conduct more research into what point the UV protection becomes ineffective, and then, controversially, recommended that people replace sunglasses with UV protection every two years. However, this recommendation came with a big caveat: you need to wear your glasses in direct sunlight for a minimum of two hours a day, every day, for 730 straight days. 

Who does that? No one — unless you’re a beach lifeguard who doesn’t wear a hat and works every day of the week in nothing but sunny weather. But despite the extreme conditions cited in the study, the myth that sunglasses expire and lose their ability to block UV rays has become pervasive even though no further studies have confirmed the Brazilian study. 

The Real Reason Sunglasses Lose Their UV Protection Powers

With many cheaper sunglasses, the UV protection comes from a coating applied to the top of the lenses. Over time, scratches happen, and each scratch is essentially a crack that reduces your sunglasses’ ability to protect your eyes. The more scratches, the more tiny slivers of UV radiation hit your eyes.

The solution is to invest in high-quality lenses that feature UV protection baked into their scratch-resistant lenses such as Rudy Project’s Polar 3FX HDR lens technology which blocks 100% of UVA and UVB rays. Rudy Project’s ImpactX lenses, featured in their innovative line of photochromatic lenses, are made from a lighter and more durable polymer that provides maximum scratch resistance, among other features.

In short, you’re more likely to lose or damage a pair of Rudy Project sunglasses than ever have to worry about them somehow expiring. So wear them with confidence. And take care of them by keeping them clean and in their protected pouch whenever you’re not wearing them. Those simple steps will ensure that your lenses protect your eyes and frame the road in crystal clarity for as long as possible — or at least until you’re ready to update your style with a fresh new pair.