Towards standardization of UV eye protection: what can be learned from photodermatology?


  • Conflicts of interest:

    J. K. serves as a consultant to Essilor SA, Paris, France. T. de A. and G. B. are employees of Essilor SA, Paris, France.


While knowledge about standardization of skin protection against ultraviolet radiation (UVR) has progressed over the past few decades, there is no uniform and generally accepted standardized measurement for UV eye protection. The literature provides solid evidence that UV can induce considerable damage to structures of the eye. As well as damaging the eyelids and periorbital skin, chronic UV exposure may also affect the conjunctiva and lens. Clinically, this damage can manifest as skin cancer and premature skin ageing as well as the development of pterygia and premature cortical cataracts. Modern eye protection, used daily, offers the opportunity to prevent these adverse sequelae of lifelong UV exposure. A standardized, reliable and comprehensive label for consumers and professionals is currently lacking. In this review we (i) summarize the existing literature about UV radiation-induced damage to the eye and surrounding skin; (ii) review the recent technological advances in UV protection by means of lenses; (iii) review the definition of the Eye-Sun Protection Factor (E-SPF®), which describes the intrinsic UV protection properties of lenses and lens coating materials based on their capacity to absorb or reflect UV radiation; and (iv) propose a strategy for establishing the biological relevance of the E-SPF.