ANSI Z80.3, as stated in the standard itself, is meant to “establish standards for noncorrective (essentially plano power) lenses that are intended for attenuation of light and for fashion eyewear, and for the flammability and durability of frames and lenses.” In other words, ANSI Z80.3-2015 - Ophthalmics - Nonprescription Sunglass and Fashion Eyewear Requirements specifies requirements for sunglasses.
Since ANSI Z80.3-2015 is intended primarily for sunglasses, and not prescription glasses, safety glasses, or glasses for any other purpose, it must be able to prevent ultraviolet (UV) radiation from damaging or inhibiting the wearer’s eyes or sight. The standard accomplishes this by addressing the luminous transmittance that can travel through the sunglasses. Requirements for this are expressed mathematically.
In addition to this, the standard also covers specifications for variations in how much light is reflected by the sunglasses, depending on their specific purpose. An example of this is the focus on traffic signal transmittance of the lens, in which daylight and traffic lights must be able to travel through the lens so that car drivers can properly see and engage with any traffic-related concerns.
ANSI Z80.3 also addresses issues relating the structural integrity of sunglasses. Like other ANSI Z80 standards, it uses 21 CFR 801.410 requirements for impact testing. Since the glasses covered in the standard are intended for exposure to the Sun, their frames, lenses, and other components of the assembled product must undergo flammability testing.
For those possessing the past version of ANSI Z80.3, there have been several important revisions that help to not only clarify concepts but also to align the document with international provisions. These include definitions of reference point, special purpose lenses, and polarization axis tolerance, modification of minimum luminous transmittance of gradient tint lenses, and new requirements for frame durability, such as corrosion, material safety, and deformation, among others.
While sunglasses serve the practical purpose of isolating the eyes from the Sun’s rays, they are still fashion items. ANSI Z80.3-2015 does not seek to limit the amount of variability in style and aesthetic design between sunglasses, but to make them universally safe and durable.
ANSI Z80.3-2015 is part of the ANSI Z80 series of standards devoted to ophthalmic lenses, and the equipment, instruments and processes used in their final fabrication level, which are developed by The Vision Council.
If you’d like to learn more about ANSI Z80 standards, please refer to our post on Ophthalmic Standards.