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What Does CE, CAT, 100% UV Protection Marks Mean On Sunglasses – Ultimate Guide

When choosing your sunglasses, you need to know these three essential factors – CE mark, lens categories, and 100% UV protection. Let me explain how these symbols represent a specific meaning and purpose.

CE marking is a quality certification symbol. It indicates that a product complied with any applicable health, safety, and environmental regulations within the European Union. Meanwhile, the sunglasses categories refer to the color or darkness of its lenses. Finally, UV40 or UV400 sunglasses provide 100% protection against UV light-divisions.

Every sunglasses manufacturer follows standard procedures to make each pair safe to use. Additionally, complying with regulations guarantees 100% protection from harsh sunlight. Here is a comprehensive guide about CE, lenses categories, and UV protection marks. Make sure to pay attention before paying for your sunglasses.

What Does CE Mean On Sunglasses?

“Conformité Européenne” or CE means European Conformity in English. You’ve probably seen this mark on various medical supplies, and other electronic items. CE is a certification. It indicates that a product has complied with any applicable safety and environmental regulations within the European Union.

Is it only suitable if a manufacturer sells in European countries?

CE mark is a requirement in other countries requiring similar certifications. For example, it can be the USA’s FDA registration. Those products that meet specific requirements will have the CE logo on its surface. It is proof of compliance while ensuring free movement across participating countries. Think of CE certification as a “European Passport.” It ensures that each item is legitimate and safe to use.

Temple With Ce Mark

How Does A Product Get A CE Certification?

Companies or manufacturers should compile extensive technical documentation to get CE marking. It should show product conformity to all applicable regulations. The process of assessment goes beyond technical documentation. It can include data on the effectiveness and other same scientific cases.

Imagine CE is the tip of the proverbial iceberg. You may see a beautiful, bright, and shining ice-cone iceberg. But there’s so much more below the surface of the water. CE certifications improve the quality system and checking of each item. This way, they can assure the public or users that it complied with strict regulations.

Is CE Marking Mandatory?

CE marking is only mandatory on certain products in which EU specifications exist. Some countries also need CE marking before the seller can penetrate its market. If you’re the buyer, it would be better to check if the product has a CE mark. This way, you can have peace of mind that it is safe to use and follow a strict procedure.

How Do I Check My Product Is CE Marked?

The best and easiest way to check the CE mark is by looking at its symbol. More often, it should always be on the product itself. You can also see it on the packaging or manual that came with the item. The official CE mark consists of the letter C and E, with shapes like a series of circles. It also has a specific amount of space between the letters. The inner curve of the C should align with the outer curve of E.

The CE mark should always be 5mm high. Fake CE logos will appear to have closer letters than the official symbol. Finding goods with what seems to be a CE mark is not unusual, but it’s against the law.

When you find a suspicious CE logo on your sunglasses, it could mean the product used the wrong symbol. But it could also mean that the work shouldn’t carry the CE mark due to failure to pass all CE requirements. In this case, you should report it immediately because it is an illegitimate mark used on the product.

If you are sunglasses wholesale business, you can request a certificate of conformity or declaration of performance from sunglasses factory. It is ideal if you suspect misusing the CE mark. It would give you test results and other information on how the item passed CE requirements.

What Do Sunglass Categories Mean?

Aside from CE certifications, sunglasses also have lens categories. Most of the time, manufacturers don’t put the lens category (cat) in each model’s description. It’s because not all brands provide such information. Category 3 is the most famous because it’s almost brown and grey, which is typical. But there are different sunglass categories.

Cat. 00%-20%Cat.0Indoor,
Cloudy days,
Cat. 120%-58%Cat.1Partially cloudy,
Urban area
Partially Cloudy
Cat. 259%-82%Cat.2Medium sunlightSunlight
Cat. 383%-91%Cat.3High sunlight,
Beach, County,
High Sunlight
Cat. 492%-98%Cat.4Extreme sunlight,
Not allowed to drive
Extreme Sunlight
  • Category 0. It is a clear or very light tiny lens used for impact protection. You can see it in many safety eyewear glasses on some construction sites. Category 0 also provides a minimal reduction of sun glare and slight UV protection.
  • Category 1. It is a typical yellow, pale, or light tint sunglasses. You can’t use it in sunny conditions, but it is excellent for overcast skies. This category can only provide limited protection against sun glare and UV protection. Thus, you can’t use it when driving in at night or under dull light conditions.
  • Category 2. It is a typical orange, rose, blue and red lens. You can get some adequate protection against sun glare and UV protection. Thus, it is safe to use driving or strolling in at night or under dull light conditions.
  • Category 3. It is suitable for strong sunlight and the most common kind of lenses. It consists of brown and grey-colored lenses. You can get high protection against sun glare and UV protection. You can use these sunglasses for leisure and fashion.
  • Category 4. It consists of very dark grey or brown lenses. You can use it in the mountains or deserts with intense sunlight. It is also ideal to use in places with high glare conditions, but not suitable for road use.
  • Category 5. It includes sports sunglasses.

When choosing your sunglasses, Category 3 is your best option. It would be best if you recognized the tint to enhance the colors that you see. This way, you can look at more vivid images as you wear sunglasses. Other tint colors can also help reduce glare and block the sunlight. Lens categories have nothing to do with UV protection, which leads us to the next question…

What Does UV400 Mean On Sunglasses?

UV400 or UV40 is a rating applied to the filter used on sunglasses. It offers protection against UV light-divisions. Its purpose is to prevent any sun damage that can hurt your eyes. UV light-divisions consist of three divisions, which include the following.

UVA315-380nmOutdoor workEye fatigue, Partial blindness,
Cataract, Sunshine
Industrial environment
Cataract, Welder flash, ARC flash
UVC100-280nmIndustrial environment,
ARC welding
Comea or crystalline lesions,
Loss of eyesight
  • Ultraviolet A-Rays. Of all types, it has the least energy but can cause skin cells to age and some indirect damage to the cells’ DNA.
  • Ultraviolet B-Rays. It has more energy than UVA rays, which can do more damage to the skin cells, sunburn, and worst of all, skin cancer.
  • Ultraviolet C-Rays. It has, among other forms of UV rays, the highest energy. UVC can also come from different sources produced by humans. It includes welding torches, mercury lamps, and UV sanitizers.

UV400 is the best rating of protection that each pair of sunglasses could get. Regardless of the lens categories, protection against ultraviolet light is essential. It is a must in choosing a pair of sunglasses. As mentioned, the tint will only reduce visible light that can pass through the lens. But, it is not enough to block any UV light.

Very dark lenses or Category 4 lenses without UV filtration can make your pupils dilate. It is dangerous considering that there would be more UV light that passes through your eyes. As a result, it can damage your eyes, leading to permanent damage like cataracts and blindness.

Is 100% UV Protection Same As Polarized?

Women With Sunglasses

100% UV Protection is not the same with polarized lenses. Just because a pair of sunglasses have 100% UV protection doesn’t mean it has polarized lenses. Regardless of the brand and style, UV protection is mandatory for all sunglasses. However, not all sunglasses that have UV protection have polarizers.

Are you getting the point?

Polarizers or polarized lenses are extra filters used in some sunglasses. These filters are chemical films added to the layers of the lens construction. Its primary purpose is to boost the sunglasses’ ability to reduce glare from reflected and overhead sunlight.

The polarized filters are tiny rows of molecules that create a directional “grain,” almost like a prison bar. The difference is that it is vertically aligned. As a result, it builds a filter that block-out most horizontally orientated light, which is harmful to the eyes.

So what are horizontal lights, you asked?

Horizontal lights happen as they reflect off molecules in the air or bounce off large reflective objects. It includes water, snow, buildings, or vehicles. The flat surface condenses the light into what we call glare. Looking at it is painful, and it messes with your vision. It can be dangerous, especially when you are driving and when playing sports.

Thanks to the polarizing filter, you will have less distracting glare from entering your lenses. It makes it smoother and more reliable than regular sun lenses.


A pair of sunglasses without a CE mark can be suspicious and unreliable. Thus, it is better to buy it only from trusted sellers who complied with all European standards. Then, choose the ideal lens category that would fit your daily needs. More importantly, always check that your sunglasses have 100% UV protection. Otherwise, what’s the point of wearing it if you won’t get protection from harmful UV rays?

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Michelle Mao

Hey, I’m the author of this post, and I have been in this field for more than 10 years.
If you want to know more knowledges about sunglasses, or if you are looking for OEM, ODM service about sunglasses. Feel free to contact me now.

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