Press Release

Putting Sunscreen around Your Eyes? Opt for a Pair of Glasses Instead!

ZEISS UVProtect ensures optimum UV protection for your eyes and the surrounding skin

15 February 2019

For years, consumers have heard that, while on the beach, out in nature or on vacation, they should put sunscreen on their skin to protect it from the sun. In particular, a person's face is constantly exposed to sunlight. A study published by the University of Liverpool1 explored how people apply sunscreen to their face. The researchers employed a special UV camera. A special filter and illumination make the areas where sunscreen was applied appear black. Looking at the photos, you see that the area around the eyes often remains bright. This means not enough sunscreen was applied, exposing the skin to dangerous sunlight if the person does not also wear a pair of glasses with UV protection.

Aalen, Germany | 15 February 2019 | ZEISS Vision Care

Put sunscreen on your eyelids? Not likely

The skin on a person's face and neck is particularly prone to skin cancer because it is frequently exposed to UV radiation. Around five to ten percent of all skin cancer cases occur on the eyelid2. Hence protecting this area makes sense. This requires either applying sunscreen to the eyelids or wearing glasses that protect against UV radiation. The advantage of sunglasses is that they protect not only the skin around the eye, but also the eye itself – assuming the lenses filter out dangerous radiation.

For anyone with a visual impairment who does not wish to apply sunscreen to their eyelids, an attractive alternative is available: they can opt for clear eyeglass lenses with full UV protection. These lenses can also be worn even when the weather does not call for sunglasses. Solar UV radiation is omnipresent during the day – even when it's cloudy or in the shade. With ZEISS UVProtect, ZEISS provides a technology that enables UV protection up to 400 nm and comes standard in all clear plastic ZEISS eyeglass lenses. These lenses not only protect the tissue around the eye from UV radiation just as well as sunglasses, but also the eye itself.

The two sides to sunlight

While sunlight can be harmful, it also provides the body with vitamin D. Spending just a short time in the sunlight covers the daily requirement3. And many people have experienced firsthand how sunlight can boost a person's mood, especially after a long, dark winter. However, UV radiation in too high a dose or over an excessively long period of time can potentially damage the skin and, sooner or later, a person's eyes can suffer from the energy-rich radiation emitted by the sun. This includes illnesses like photokeratitis (sunburn on the cornea or conjunctiva) and pterygium (growth on the cornea). In addition, it increases a person's risk of developing a cataract when they're older.

Children – Spending a lot of time outside...and in the sun

Children especially are frequently exposed to dangerous UV radiation because they are outside more frequently. Studies suggest that by the age of 20 we might have already received 50 percent of our lifetime estimates of UV exposure4.

Thus it follows that children in particular need to be protected. When it comes to protecting young eyes, it's important to understand that a child's crystalline lens lets through far more UV radiation than that of an adult. So here are some tips for ensuring a healthy amount of time in the sun, for adults and for children:

  • Spend time outside on a regular basis! Our bodies need sunlight to produce vitamin D.

  • Keep the UV index in mind! This can help you stay informed on how to best protect yourself from UV radiation on a particular day.

  • Reduce your own level of UV exposure, i.e. how much UV radiation you're exposed to! But don't forget: even in the shade or on a cloudy day, UV rays still reach us.

  • Wear suitable clothing, a pair of sunglasses or clear eyeglass lenses with UV protection, and put on a hat in strong sunlight!

  • Don't forget sunscreen!

Opportunities for eye care professionals

A consumer survey5 from ZEISS suggests that eye care professionals in particular can raise the issue of UV protection for their patients throughout the year. 91 percent of those surveyed reported that UV protection is generally important for them. 96 percent even think it is important to protect their eyes. However, 80 percent didn't know that clear lenses can also protect their eyes against dangerous radiation throughout the year. This means that there is potential for customer education. After all, 97 percent of consumers report that they would consider it beneficial if their clear lenses provided protection against UV radiation – just like their tinted lenses.

*UVProtect is a registered trademark of Carl Zeiss Vision GmbH.

Portrait Joachim Kuss
Press contact Joachim Kuss General Topics and Sustainability

ZEISS Vision Care


ZEISS is an internationally leading technology enterprise operating in the fields of optics and optoelectronics. In the previous fiscal year, the ZEISS Group generated annual revenue totaling more than 5.8 billion euros in its four segments Industrial Quality & Research, Medical Technology, Consumer Markets and Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology (status: 30 September 2018).

For its customers, ZEISS develops, produces and distributes highly innovative solutions for industrial metrology and quality assurance, microscopy solutions for the life sciences and materials research, and medical technology solutions for diagnostics and treatment in ophthalmology and microsurgery. The name ZEISS is also synonymous with the world's leading lithography optics, which are used by the chip industry to manufacture semiconductor components. There is global demand for trendsetting ZEISS brand products such as eyeglass lenses, camera lenses and binoculars.

With a portfolio aligned with future growth areas like digitalization, healthcare and Smart Production and a strong brand, ZEISS is shaping the future far beyond the optics and optoelectronics industries. The company's significant, sustainable investments in research and development lay the foundation for the success and continued expansion of ZEISS' technology and market leadership.

With around 30,000 employees, ZEISS is represented in nearly 50 countries, with approximately 60 of its own sales and service companies and 30 manufacturing and development centers around the globe. Founded in 1846 in Jena, the company is headquartered in Oberkochen, Germany. The Carl Zeiss Foundation, one of the largest foundations in Germany committed to the promotion of science, is the sole owner of the holding company, Carl Zeiss AG.

Further information at


ZEISS Vision Care
ZEISS Vision Care is one of the world's leading manufacturers of eyeglass lenses and ophthalmic instruments. The area is part of the Consumer Markets segment and develops and produces offerings for the entire eyeglass value chain that are distributed globally under the ZEISS brand.

Share this article

  • 1

  • 2

    Cook BE Jr, Bartley GB. Treatment options and future prospects for the management of eyelid malignancies: an evidence-based update. Ophthalmology2001 Nov; 108(11):2088-98. // Abraham J, Jabaley M, Hoopes JE. Basal cell carcinoma of the medial canthal region. Am J Surg 1973; Oct; 126(4):492-5.

  • 3

  • 4

    Green, A. C., et al. (2011). Childhood exposure to ultraviolet radiation and harmful skin effects: epidemiological evidence. Progress in biophysics and molecular biology, 107(3), 349-355 / Meta Study, taking several studies into account

  • 5

    The survey: from November 2017 to May 2018, ZEISS conducted a survey among eyeglass wearers who purchased ZEISS UVProtect lenses. The respondents came from the US (medical history n = 56, feedback n = 50), China (medical history and feedback n = 100) and the DACH region (medical history n = 178, feedback n = 139). They were asked to complete a questionnaire on UV protection and satisfaction with their lenses at the eye care professional's before purchasing a new pair of glasses and online after wearing the lenses with ZEISS UVProtect technology for three weeks. We received 334 responses when taking patients’ medical history, and 289 people gave us their feedback after wearing the lenses for three weeks.