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Tuesday / May 21.
HomeminewsSunglass Standards Needed for NZ

Sunglass Standards Needed for NZ

Consumer NZ has called for regulation of New Zealand’s sunglass market. Regulation is also supported by the New Zealand Association of Optometrists and the Cancer Society of New Zealand.

The call comes following the laboratory testing of 50 pairs of sunglasses sold in New Zealand against Australia’s Consumer Goods (Sunglasses and Fashion Spectacles) Safety Standard 2017. The tests found that just 29 pairs met the all the requirements.

In Australia, all sunglasses sold must comply with the Safety Standard 2017. However, in New Zealand there are no such requirements.

To conduct its assessment, Consumer NZ, an “independent, non-profit organisation dedicated to getting New Zealanders a fairer deal”, bought sunglasses from pharmacies, petrol stations, chain stores, clothing stores, surf shops, sunglasses stores and discount stores.

Many of the products they tested claimed to comply with the Australian standard; others claimed to meet less stringent standards – such as those in the EU or US – or meet no standard at all.

Only three of nine pairs bought from discount stores passed all tests. Consumer NZ reported similar findings for sunglasses purchased from AliExpress and Amazon, both of which “failed a technical test”.

However, the assessors found that within the 50 pairs tested, there were men’s, women’s and children’s sunglasses priced at less than NZ$20 that did provide good eye protection and coverage, and were robust.

within the 50 pairs tested, there were men’s, women’s and children’s sunglasses priced at less than NZ$20 that did provide good eye protection and coverage, and were robust

To conduct the assessment, an accredited lab tested the sunglasses for:

  • Construction and robustness.
  • Protective coverage
  • Resistance to ignition (whether highly flammable materials had been used in the construction of the sunglasses).
  • UV transmittance, which helps determine the lens category.
  • Scattered light test, which can affect the view through the lens.
  • Prism imbalance test – if sunglasses fail this test, it can cause headaches and dizziness, and may affect judging distance.
  • Temporal protective requirements: a requirement of category 4 (very dark) sunglasses to ensure adequate protection from the sides.
  • Refractive power, spherical power, astigmatic refractive power tests
  • Plane of polarisation tests, which may affect judging distances.
  • Transmittance difference test, which may affect judging distances of moving objects.

Additionally, ten pairs were tested for resistance to solar radiation. This tests whether sunglasses still provide UV protection over time. All the pairs tested passed this test.

Along with calling for regulation of sunglasses sold, Consumer NZ said, “We’d also like regulations to include regular testing requirements to ensure there aren’t issues with batch variation”.