Choosing the Right Tint for Your Sunglasses
You can't judge a pair of sunglasses by its colour, at least not for eye protection purposes. Tints and shades of sunglasses do not reflect UV (ultraviolet) blocking ability. When sunglasses are made, the lenses are treated with UV-absorbing chemicals to be able to block UV light. Because these chemicals are usually colourless, clear lenses could block light just as well as dark-coloured lenses. So why so many lens colours?
Purpose of Tints
Tints filter light in different ways, and some tints do a better job at blocking light than others. Some tints actually enhance colours, while others distort them. Tints have the ability to enhance vision in certain situations. Although you may admire a certain tint colour, it may not be the best one for your particular lifestyle.
Uses for Different Tints
Following is a handy tint guide for choosing sunglasses.
- Gray: Gray is a popular neutral tint that allows the eyes to perceive colours in their purest form. Gray tints reduce brightness and glare. Choose gray for driving and outdoor sports such as golf, running or cycling.
- Yellow/Orange: Yellow and orange tints increase contrast in hazy, foggy or low-light conditions. These tints tend to make objects appear sharper both indoors and outdoors, but can also cause colour distortion. Choose yellow shades for snow activities and indoor ball sports.
- Green: Green tints filter some blue light and reduce glare, while offering high contrast and visual sharpness. Shades of green also tend to reduce eyestrain in bright light. Choose green for precision sports such as tennis, baseball and golf.
- Amber/Brown: Amber and brown tints reduce glare and block blue light, giving them the ability to brighten vision on cloudy days. By blocking blue light, these tints increase contrast and visual acuity, especially against green and blue backgrounds such as grass and sky. Choose amber and brown tints for fishing, baseball, golf, hunting, cycling, and water sports.
- Rose/Red: Rosy tints increase contrast by blocking blue light. These tints have a reputation of being soothing to the eyes and more comfortable than others for longer wear-times. They also help with visibility while driving, and seem to be a favourite among computer users as they reduce glare and eyestrain.
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- Giannos SA, Kraft ER, Lyons LJ, Gupta PK. Spectral Evaluation of Eyeglass Blocking Efficiency of Ultraviolet/High-energy Visible Blue Light for Ocular Protection. Optom Vis Sci. 2019;96(7):513-522. doi:10.1097/OPX.0000000000001393
- Gil S, Le bigot L. Seeing life through positive-tinted glasses: color-meaning associations. PLoS ONE. 2014;9(8):e104291. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0104291