How To Spot Fake Sunglasses and The Risks They Pose

How To Spot Fake Sunglasses and The Risks They Pose

Designer sunglasses can often feel like an expensive, luxury item, meaning that you may feel as though you are getting a good deal when buying them cheaply. However, more often than not, cheap designer sunglasses are convincingly made counterfeits, especially if they are bought from a market or unverified retailer. It is important to be aware of how to spot fake sunglasses and the risks associated with them, as wearing poor quality sunglasses can potentially be worse than wearing none at all.

How can you tell the difference between fake sunglasses and real pairs?

The Box

When buying a pair of sunglasses, check the box for the designer’s logo or name. There should also be information about the manufacturer and a barcode (or serial code). Check these against the information in any accompanying papers and the arms of the glasses. On the arms of the glasses, the model number, colour, lens and frame measurements should be clearly displayed. The box will also come with an authenticity card, and it should be sturdily made from cardboard or paper that can not be crushed easily. You should examine the printing of the logo on the box to see if it is high quality or has been embossed properly.

The Case

Before purchasing designer sunglasses from a brand’s supposed stockist, firstly check their website so you can get an idea of what the case the glasses will arrive in should look like. Genuine designer sunglasses will usually come with a hard case or a soft pouch to store the glasses when not in use, and some brands may provide cleaning cloths with their logo. Certain brands will provide leather cases with their glasses, so be sure to feel the material and check the quality of the stitching.

The Frames

If you are suspicious that a pair of sunglasses may be fake, check the weight of the frames. Some fake sunglasses may be much lighter than their authentic counterparts, whereas fake stainless steel can be heavier. Authentic designer sunglasses should feel like the weight of the frames is easily balanced and comfortable when worn, and there should not be any scratches or other imperfections if you are buying them new. They should also look symmetrical when viewed from above. Try not to overly rely on the serial number or brand logo on these, as they can be faked relatively easily. If there is a serial number, barcode or SKU, check that this aligns with what is shown in the product information on the brand’s official website.

The Branding

Many companies choose to etch their name or initials on the glass of the lenses. If you are able to scratch this off with your fingernails easily, it is very likely that they are fake. Similarly, fake replicas may not have any logo at all, or it may appear as though it has been drawn on with a brush or is a sticker.

Hinges & Nose Pads

Genuine designer sunglasses should open and close without any difficulty, and the hinges should not be flimsy. The nose pads should feel smooth, and if they sit at different heights this may indicate fake glasses.

The Retailer

A key indicator of the authenticity of sunglasses is the retailer that you are buying them from, especially if this is online. Try to avoid auction sites, as it can be difficult to verify if the products on these are the real deal. Check the designer’s own official website for a list of all their authorised resellers, or try to contact them directly and ask if they do not have one.

CE Marking

If you are buying sunglasses within the EU, they should carry the CE marking. This marking indicates that the glasses are compliant with European safety standards. In the UK, CE marking was stopped in 2023 and has been replaced with the UKCA marking instead if the product was placed on the market after January 2023.

Cosmetic Glasses

You may find that some glasses are advertised as being ‘cosmetic’, and this can usually indicate that they are counterfeit. Cosmetic sunglasses do not offer proper eye protection when worn, meaning that you risk damaging your eyes. This is something that should be thoroughly investigated when buying sunglasses for children, as not having a proper filter on the glasses can increase the damage caused by sun exposure.

What are the risks of wearing fake sunglasses?

Improper Protection

A pair of fake sunglasses will not offer adequate UV protection to shield your eyes, and may instead only reduce the amount of visible light. As stylish and convincing as fake glasses can be, they often lack this feature. This can result in your pupils being more dilated, making them more susceptible to damage from the sunlight. In the long run, this can lead to health conditions and vision problems such as photokeratitis, cataracts and increase your risk of developing macular degeneration.

Lack of glare protection

Authentic sunglasses will minimise the glare that can be caused by sunlight and increase your visibility. Fake sunglasses do not have the relevant polarising features required to do this, making you more likely to suffer from squinting and eye strain. This can cause temporary discomfort, but can lead to longer term issues with your eyesight.

All in all, it is best to only buy designer sunglasses from the designer themselves, or a retailer that they have authorised to sell their products. Not only designer sunglasses can be fake, with many markets also selling cheaper pairs that are not safe for use. You should always protect your eyes from sun damage by wearing sunglasses that offer UVA and UVB protection. You should also wear a hat and avoid going out at midday when the sun’s rays are the strongest. If you are worried about your eye health, have regular eye tests so that signs of sun damage can be detected early and dealt with before they cause any long term problems for your vision.

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