Understanding sun lenses
Your lens helps protect your eyes from UV rays, bright light, glare and other external nuisances. But not all lenses are equal. So, how can you choose the most appropriate shading and colour for your lifestyle? Discover some general guidelines about the range of tints and colours available.
Sun lenses come in a range of different shades, colours and technologies. Some are designed to help improve your sporting prowess, some for stylish elegance, while others will simply help you see better. The key to choosing the right sun lens is to find the combination of style and performance that suits your lifestyle. If you wear prescription glasses, corrective tinted lenses can help you be safer and more efficient outdoors.
Choosing your sun lens
One essential factor to consider in choosing a sun lens is your own taste and comfort, as well as how well the lens matches the colour of the frame. Everyone has a different preference for the look of their lens: maybe you prefer a warm brown shading or you feel more comfortable with a light purple tint. If you need corrective lenses, prescription sunglasses offer you plenty of options in both frames and lenses. Simply ask your eye care professional for more information.
Choosing the intensity of your tint
The second factor to consider is the intensity of sunlight you’re likely to encounter. Tints are graded from 0 to 4, with 4 being the darkest.
If you want sunglasses for the city or for activities such as shopping, a light tint (2) is well-adapted. Light tints are designed for fashion, a way for you to express your individuality. For a pair of sunglasses that you can use in most conditions, category 3 lenses will provide you with the appropriate amount of shade. Category 4 is reserved for the kind of extreme sunlight you might encounter in the mountains or on the open sea; it is not recommended for driving, as very dark shades alter our colour perception and can therefore make it difficult to see traffic lights and road signs. Find out more by consulting the table of shades and intensities.
Don’t forget that the tint itself is not responsible for UV protection, which is provided by the material of the lens. Instead, the tint offers you comfort and can also help optimise your visual performance and safety.
What colour lens should I choose?
As we have already seen, the main function of the tint is to reduce ambient light intensity and therefore improve your vision and comfort outdoors. When your eyes are overexposed to sunlight, your perception of colours, shapes and details is altered, much like in a photograph whose colours have been distorted by the camera’s flash.
Reducing light intensity will help improve your perception of contrasts, allowing you to better see the difference between clear and dark areas and therefore more fully appreciate colours, details and shapes. Some tints greatly improve contrast between clear and dark areas, while others are more neutral.
A lens with yellow, orange or red dyes (typically found in brown lenses) will tend to improve contrast, while being less well-adapted for colour rendering. For example, yellow is generally recommended for lower sunlight intensity and is a good choice for driving, while orange is an excellent choice for target sports. For more details, consult the table of colours.
More neutral lens colours such as grey or grey-green will more faithfully reproduce colours while giving less emphasis to contrast. The tint of the lens naturally changes the colours you see, so if you are sensitive to colour perception, you may prefer a tint that gives you an exact rendering of the colour you see.
Combining dark and light tints in a single lens
Some glasses feature gradient tints, combining a dark tint on the upper half of the lens with a lighter tint on the lower part. This means they offer you comfort from the sun when you are outdoors, but allow you to see more easily indoors. If the top tint is category 3, the bottom half of the lens will usually be category 1 or 2.
A gradient tint is ideal in situations like eating on a terrace, shielding your eyes from the sun while allowing you to look down to read the menu or eat your food. As well as being practical, gradient tints offer a stylish finish to your sunglasses.