Current status of photoprotection by window glass, automobile glass, window films, and sunglasses

Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed. 2013 Apr;29(2):65-72. doi: 10.1111/phpp.12022.


Ultraviolet radiation (UVR) has known adverse effects on the skin and eyes. Practitioners are becoming more aware of the importance of outdoor photoprotection. However, little attention is directed to the exposure of the skin and eyes to UVR through the window glass or sunglasses. The amount of ultraviolet transmission through glass depends mainly on the type of the glass. All types of commercial and automobile glass block the majority of ultraviolet-B; however, the degree of ultraviolet-A transmission depends on the type of glass. Laminated glass offers better UVA protection than tempered glass; new safety regulations for automobiles may result in increased use of laminated glass for side windows. Window films can be applied to glass to increase UVR protection. Sunglasses need to be compliant with one of the national standards; a wraparound style or side shields offer the best protection. Increased understanding by practitioners on the transmission of UVR through glass, window films, and sunglasses would allow them to better educate the public and to better manage photosensitive patients.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Automobiles
  • Environmental Exposure / prevention & control*
  • Eyeglasses
  • Glass*
  • Humans
  • Sunlight / adverse effects*
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects*