3D Printed Custom Plastic Sunglasses for Style, Safety and Benefits


Regardless of your favourite sunglass style, this fashion statement accessory has some major safety benefits that help protect your eyes, thanks to the versatility of plastics. 

Keeping them in place

Keeping sunglasses firmly affixed to your head can prevent their loss and even potentially dangerous situations, especially when driving or playing sports, when they could become dislodged. (Extreme example: an astronaut wearing sunglasses under a space helmet cannot simply reach in and adjust them.) So they need to effectively grip your head. Lightweight, bendable plastic frames work together with the sunglass springs to provide just the right amount of pressure to help keep them in place… without causing pain.

At least one sunglass maker is taking this even further, using plastics and a 3-D printer to custom design sunglasses for your individual head. The manufacturer says each pair weighs the same as just five gummy bears, thanks to super-lightweight plastics.

Shatter resistance

It’s not the best idea to place breakable glass lenses close to your eyeballs. So even if your highest-impact activity is relaxing on the beach or by a pool, you’ll still be glad to know your sunglass lenses are likely made with shatter-resistant plastics. Many manufacturers make sunglass lenses with high-performance plastics that are both tough and clear—such as polycarbonate plastics, the material that also is used to make “bullet resistant glass.”

UV protection

The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays may be invisible, but they can cause serious damage to your eyes if you spend a lot of time outdoors without proper eye protection. Plastic sunglass lenses with special protective coatings can help reduce your UV exposure without compromising your sight. And since plastics are easily moldable, the frames and lenses can be made oversized or wrap around your eyes and face for extra sun protection. Bonus: polycarbonate lenses can block more than 99 percent UV rays… without the need for special coating. 

In addition, sunglasses with UV protection may help prevent cataracts. Millions of people are blind from cataracts, and millions more are visually impaired by them.

Glare reduction

If you spend a lot of time on the water, the snow, or even the open road, you know that glare can be a big problem—potentially leading to compromised vision that can cause accidents. Glare leads to thousands of car accidents every year. That’s one reason that technicians developed “polarized” plastic lenses with a virtually invisible, built-in filter that helps reduce glare to make images sharper and clearer.


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