The optical Appliances testing Service, based at the City University of London, recently conducted a test on 100 pairs of sunglasses that were sold by various fashion high street retailers. More worryingly, most of the sunglasses that failed were in a price range between £1 and £25, the most popular price range for people who are about to go on holiday. The test failures ranged from light transmittance of the lenses to the actual robustness and impact resistance of the lenses. To be precise, 57 out 100 pairs that were tested failed. 49 pairs of the glasses that failed didn’t pass the ‘drop ball’ test. This test involves dropping a metallic ball from a certain height in order to measure the impact resistance of each lens.
The findings of the test imply that many consumers, who buy cheap sunglasses from high street fashion stores, have no real way of knowing that the product they are buying comply with the EU standards and safety regulations. Most customers take for granted that if a pair of sunglasses carries the CE mark then it must be safe to buy. Going by the high percentage of cheap sunglasses that failed the test, there seems to be a fundamental lack of industry enforcement to protect consumers. We’ll be keeping a close eye on this matter and will report on any further developments as news comes in.