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UKCA mark on sunglasses: what does it mean?

Written by Lentiamo on 9 Jun 2023

Many products, eyewear included, now bear the new UKCA marking. Why does it matter to you when it comes to buying a new pair of shades?

As of January 2020, the United Kingdom officially ceased to be a member of the European Union, as a result of the 2016 referendum that went down in history as 'Brexit'. Thus, the UKCA marking was born.

What does the UKCA mark on sunglasses mean?

The mark signifies that the sunglasses meet a certain quality standard.

The acronym UKCA stands for UK Conformity Assessed. Because they are deemed a medical device — as well as a fashionable accessory — quality sunglasses are part of the list of products subjected to government-regulated conformity marks.

As of 1 January 2021, eyewear brands seeking to distribute their products in the UK market must have them UKCA-marked. Additionally, frames manufactured before this date can also be distributed in the UK with only the CE mark, as per pre-Brexit rules. Many international eyewear manufacturers currently use both the CE and UKCA logos on their newer products distributed in both the EU and the UK.

Is UKCA replacing CE?

Yes and no, products that currently require a CE marking must continue to bear it when distributed on the EU market. Similarly, products intended for distribution in the UK and belonging to the relevant categories will have to bear the UKCA mark. In the case of several manufacturers, both marks may be present. This means that the product meets the quality requirements of both and can therefore be distributed in the EU and the UK.

Jimmy Choo sunglasses with CE mark

UKCA is therefore mandatory for the Great Britain market (England, Scotland, and Wales) to certify the compliance of a number of products. Northern Ireland follows instead a different regime. They observe the regulations already in place related to the CE marking in order to maintain some territorial continuity in terms of market and goods with the Republic of Ireland.

Why are the UKCA and CE marks important in determining the quality of sunglasses?

Both the CE mark and the UKCA mark certify that the sunglasses you have purchased meet the strictest manufacturing standards. This means that the shades that bear these markings are made of high-quality materials and that the protection from UV radiation they offer is real and in line with the recommendations of eye specialists.

In short, by purchasing UKCA and CE-marked glasses, you can be sure that you are holding a genuine medical device to protect your eyes from the sun's harmful rays.

What is the difference between CE and UKCA marking?

Presently, the quality requirements for obtaining the UKCA mark do not differ significantly from those for the CE mark. This is why many spectacle brands that market their products in both the UK and the EU have chosen to use both marks. In fact, the two logos can often be seen side by side on the temple of quality spectacle frames and sunglasses, as shown in the picture below.

Jimmy Choo sunglasses with UKCA and CE marks

Looking for a new pair of UKCA & CE approved sunglasses?

Hundreds of top-quality sunglasses are waiting for you at Lentiamo.

Explore UKCA Approved Sunglasses


1. GOV.UK, Using the UKCA marking

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