Skip to content
Media releases
10 February 2023

Consumer NZ: Watch out for second-rate sunnies

Consumer NZ is urging New Zealanders to shop carefully for sunglasses after its testing revealed top price doesn’t always mean top-level protection.

Sunglasses are not regulated in New Zealand, so the watchdog tested sunnies against the Australian Consumer Goods Safety Standard. The requirements of that standard help to protect people against the harmful effects of radiation and glare.

“We tested 50 pairs of sunglasses, ranging in price from $2 to nearly $200, and found almost half did not meet the Australian Consumer Goods Safety Standard for sunglasses and fashion spectacles,” said Belinda Castles, Consumer NZ research and test writer.

Sunglasses should protect the delicate skin around the eyes against skin cancer and reduce the risk of developing eye conditions such as cataracts and macular degeneration, which can lead to blindness in later life.

“Sunglasses are a crucial part of our sun protection kit – but only 29 of the 50 pairs we tested were up to scratch,” said Castles.

“UV damage is cumulative and irreversible, so it’s important to get children wearing sunglasses from an early age.”

As well as testing for UV protection the standard assesses how robust the sunglasses are and how well they cover the eye.

“We found men’s, women’s and children’s sunglasses which provided good protection and were sufficiently robust for $20 or less.

“Buying sunglasses from discount stores is a risky business – only three out of nine pairs we bought were fit for purpose.”

Consumer also found lacklustre results with knockoffs from overseas.

“The pairs we bought from Amazon and AliExpress failed a technical test.”

Consumer would like to see sunglasses regulated in New Zealand, so everyone can be confident that any sunglasses they buy will be of reasonable quality and protect their eyes. The New Zealand Association of Optometrists and the Cancer Society of New Zealand support Consumer’s stance.

You can see the results of Consumer’s sunglasses test on its website.