Lens Colors Decoded
Lens Colors Decoded
Lens tints let you sunglasses do more than cut down the glare. "Gear" from our October 2009 issue.
Blue lenses, too, provide many rewards. If you don’t want color shift, choose sunglasses with a neutral, grey base and blue mirror coating. Mirror coatings reduce glare and help alter out specific spectrums of light. “Because the mirror is blue,” says McSorley, “the blue light is specifically reflected away from the eye. Eyewear like this would work well in the Caribbean, which is continuously dominated by a bright blue hue.”
For variable-light conditions, a few manufacturers recommend sunglasses with a blue mirror to divert the blue light and a copper base tint to enhance contrast and augment details on the surface of the water.
Although different colors perform better in different light conditions, the experts insist that ultimately there is no right or wrong decision when it comes to colored lenses.
“Tints do have a scientific attribute, but each of us is different,” says Rosenberg. “We have different eye colors, different light sensitivity levels, and we do indeed see things differently.”
Lens tint is a personal choice based on light conditions and the type of information the user wants, adds Rosenberg. “More contrast isn’t always best; it’s a personal choice,” he says. “This is the trend we see with the best sailors: grey tends to be a favorite of the more intuitive, seat-of-the-pants sailors, and contrast-enhancing colored lenses tend to be favored by the more analytical.”
There’s no right lens tint for everyone: personal choice is the determining factor, but the manufacturers have their recommendations:
Grey: Good all-purpose use with no color distortion
Copper: Ideal for variable light and dark or grey water
Yellow: Perfect for low-light, overcast conditions
Blue: (Mirrored lens with grey base tint) Good for blue-dominant conditions, such as the Caribbean
Red: Heightens contrast in variable conditions, causes color imbalances
How Much Light to Let In?
With polarized sunglasses comes a range of light transmission rates, meaning, how much light permeates the lens and reaches your eyes. In bright light, a lower transmission rate is desirable: this means less light is getting to your eye. In low-light conditions, a higher transmission rate is better. sunglass manufacturers categorize their light transmission rates in percentages or numbers: Intense, bright sun: 9 to 12 percent; sunny to variable light conditions: 13 to 30 percent; low-light, hazy, overcast conditions: 31 to 55.
Sunglass Care, On-the-Go
If you don’t have a proper sunglass cloth on hand, one of the best ways to clean glasses quickly is to breath on them or get them wet with water (not saltwater before wiping them gently with a soft cloth. You should not use paper products (toilet paper, napkin, or paper towel as these are highly abrasive and scratch the lens coating. also, when saltwater dries on a lens, use soap and water and before wiping to avoid scratching the lens surface and coatings. For a more thorough cleaning, you should routinely wash your glasses. Start by cleaning the nose pads and then rinsing the glasses under warm water to remove dirt and surface residue. then, apply a small amount of mild detergent to your clean fingers and gently move the soap across the lenses in a circular motion. Finally, rinse the glasses again under warm water; if they are really clean, the lenses will repel water, so all that you need to do is dry the frames with a soft cotton cloth.