What do sunglass categories mean?

One of the questions we are asked from time to time is what do sunglass lens categories mean. The category number equates to a percentage of the VLT (Visible Light Transmission) that is, how much light the lens lets through. The higher the VLT the lighter the lens, conversely the lower the VLT the darker the tint will be, blocking more light coming through to the eye

Not all our brands provide this information and in reality almost all brown and grey (or ‘smoke’) lenses are Category 3. Primarily, sports sunglasses categories signify the density of the lens tint and there are five categories in total:

Category 0 is a clear or very light tint lens – mainly used for impact protection. Many Safety Eyewear glasses have a clear lens.

Category 1 is typically a yellow or pale / light tint. Not ideal for sunny conditions but OK in overcast conditions.

Category 2 is typically the orange, rose, blue and red lenses. Fine for partially sunny conditions giving a good amount of protection against sunglare.

Category 3 is for strong sunlight and the most common category because almost all brown and grey (or ‘smoke’) lenses are Category 3. Shop leisure style sunglasses.

Category 4 is typically a very dark grey or brown lens – ideal in mountains or desert where the sun is intense and there are high glare conditions. See our Category 4 sunglasses. They are not to be used when driving as the density of tint can make it dangerous to do so. All the Category 4 sunglasses we sell are clearly described as such.

sunglass lens category

It’s important to recognise that the tint or colour has nothing to do with UV protection – the UV filter applied to lenses is actually clear so even a clear lens can be UV400 rated (the maximum protection from UVR). Every single sunglass or eyewear model that Sunglasses for Sport sells on the website is UV400 rated.

Need Sports Sunglasses? Visit Sunglasses For Sport

Whatever sport you need eyewear for, we’ve got you covered. We stock sport sunglasses for loads of different activities including cycling, golf and running, and from the best brands including OakleyBollé and Tifosi. Our team will be happy to help out if you need any extra tips, advice or hints. Do you need sports eyewear? Make Sunglasses For Sport your first choice.