Lenses come in many colors and coatings. Here is a roadmap to finding the correct lens for your use and lifestyle. Tints filter light in different ways, and some tints do a better job at blocking light than others. Some tints actually enhance colors, while others distort them. Tints have the ability to enhance vision in certain situations. Although you may admire a certain tint color, it may not be the best one for your particular lifestyle.

Gray Lenses 

One of the most popular colors  is a gray sunglass lens. One of the reasons this is  so popular is the lens tint is suitable on both cloudy and sunny days, providing anti-fatigue benefits and overall protection from glare. Gray is especially effective at limiting the glare shining off water and wet roads. 

Gray lenses are a perfect choice for outdoor activities, including cycling, fishing, and active sports. And for nature lovers, gray lenses have the added benefit of allowing the color of objects to be seen in their purest form.

Gray lenses are perfect for general, all-purpose use, including driving, baseball, tennis, football, soccer, water sports, and other outdoor activities.

The benefits are:

  • Anti-fatigue
  • True color perception
  • Dark enough to provide overall protection
  • Reduces glare, especially off water
  • Great for variable weather on sunny or overcast days


Blue light can be harmful and if you have a sensitivity to the blue spectrum. For people with sensitivity, it can be painful. The red hue in brown and amber sunglass lenses improves depth perception making these lenses great for activities where distance needs to be judged. 

They’re not your best choice for cloudy days or in low-light conditions.  The real benefits of amber sunglass lenses is that in sunny conditions the lens is comforting your eyes and heightens the  contrast against green landscapes and blue skies. Use them on a golf course, tennis court or sailing.

  • Enhances contrast and depth perception
  • Perfect for driving, racing, golfing, and fishing

Green Lens

Green sunglass lenses can do what gray and brown lenses can do, but in most cases better. Sunglasses with green lenses provide better contrast than gray lenses and transmit color accuracy better than brown lenses. Ideal for both sunny and low-light environments, green lenses have a way of reducing glare while brightening shadows. Perfect for water or field sports, cycling, or skiing, these lenses protect and comfort your eyes on foggy, cloudy, or bright, sunshiny days.

  • Perfect for any outdoor activity, in rain or shine
  • Transmits all colors evenly
  • Good for general purpose use
  • Dims glare while brightening shadows

Yellow Lens

Yellow lenses provide greater clarity, perfect for pilots, baseball players, and for target shooting. Yellow lenses can also reduce eye strain for computer users and gaming fans. Whether you spend your leisure time in front of a screen, on the tennis courts, or the shooting range, you’ll enjoy greater clarity and comfort with yellow-tinted sunglasses.

  • Perfect for skiing, mountain biking, hunting, aviation, tennis, and target shooting
  • Provides greater clarity in fog, haze, and other low-light conditions
  • Filters out blue light that can cause eye strain
  • Good for the computer
  • May cause color distortion

Blue Lens

Blue or purple lenses are both fashion-savvy and practical for UV protection. While the blue tint enhances the contours around objects and improves color perception, it also can have a calming effect on the eyes. Wear blue lenses to reduce glare during snowy conditions, while enjoying water sports, or enjoying sunny leisure activities. Whether you’re on the golf course or enjoying a weekend on the snowy slopes, blue sunglass lenses will offer you both fashion and leisure benefits.

  • Perfect for spectator and golf
  • Reduces glare
  • Helps to see contours
  • Improves color perception
  • Fashionable and cosmetically appealing
  • Good in misty, foggy, and snowy conditions

Red / Pink Lenses

Red or pink lens sunglasses comfort and help the eyes adjust to contrast. Ideal for winter sports like downhill or cross country skiing, snowmobiling are often spotted sporting these rosy-tinted lenses. Great for increasing depth of field and vision, these rose-tinted lenses provide enhanced driving visibility. A favorite lens tint among computer users and gamers, sunglasses with red lenses reduce eye strain by blocking blue light.

  • Enhances visual depth
  • Reduces eye strain
  • Provides good road visibility
  • Comforting to the eyes
  • Helps adjust contract
  • Good in most weather conditions, especially in the snow

About the lens and coatings:

Visible Light Transmission

The amount of light that reaches your eyes through your lenses is called Visible Light Transmission (VLT). Measured as a percentage (and listed in the product specs on REI.com), VLT is affected by the color and thickness of your lenses, the material they're made of and the coatings they have on them. Here are some general guidelines for choosing sunglasses based on VLT percentages:

  1. 0–19% VLT: Ideal for bright, sunny conditions.
  2. 20–40% VLT: Good for all-purpose use.
  3. 40+% VLT: Best for overcast and low-light conditions.
  4. 80–90+% VLT: Virtually clear lenses for very dim and night conditions.

Lens Materials

Years ago, glass was the only option available for lenses, but today a wide range of lens materials are available to match all lifestyles.

The material used in your sunglass lenses will affect their clarity, weight, durability and cost.

Glass offers superior optical clarity and superior scratch-resistance. However, it’s heavier than other materials and expensive. Glass will "spider" when impacted (but not chip or shatter).

Polyurethane provides superior impact-resistance and excellent optical clarity. It’s flexible and lightweight, but expensive.

Polycarbonate has excellent impact-resistance and very good optical clarity. It’s affordable, lightweight and low-bulk, but less scratch-resistant.

Acrylic is an inexpensive alternative to polycarbonate, best suited for casual or occasional-use sunglasses. It’s less durable and optically clear than polycarbonate or glass with some image distortion

Other Materials
Many sunglass brands create their own lens materials, generally found in their product descriptions. They often have their own name for the lens but that does not mean the lenses are of good quality. It’s best to look at customer reviews for good information on how the lens performs.

Lens Features

When it comes to lenses, there are dozens of features that help a lens perform better in specific light and weather conditions. Here are a few of the more popular  options.

Polarized Lenses

There’s a special filter inside a polarized lens that blocks horizontal light waves, in human speak, that means glare, while, at the same time allowing vertical light waves (good light) to pass through. That means, polarized sunglasses greatly reduce the blinding effects of glare and enhance colors. Whether you love being on the water or in the snow, reduce sun glare and reflection with polarized lenses. Increase visual clarity and protect your eyes from UV rays.


Photochromic lenses automatically adjust to changing light conditions. Both tint and light transmission respond, so when the sun pulls a disappearing act or it knifes through clouds, the sunglasses lenses adapt to bright or darker conditions. Interestingly, photochromic lenses change color when the lenses are exposed to ultraviolet radiation, then, when the lens is removed from direct exposure to UV rays, the lenses go back to their original tint. Worth noting that, while great for sports applications, photochromic lenses aren’t ideal for driving conditions because most cars have UV filters in the windshield that prevent the lenses from activating (changing color). This feature is often used on prescription eyewear, offering versatility and protection. 

Hydrophobic, Oleophobic & Hydroleophic lens treatments

Hydrophobic lens treatments prevent moisture buildup so rain and perspiration won’t leave streaks and sheens that compromise your vision. Water droplets ball up and bead off the surface. Oleophobic lens treatments repel oils, making it easier to keep lenses clean. Skin oils, fingerprints, and lotions are wiped away so no residue blurs vision. Hydrophobic lens treatments take the best of both worlds from Hydrophobic and Oleophobic and combine them into one special lens treatment!

Anti-reflective (A/R) treatment

Applied to the backside of some lenses, often polarized lenses, A/R treatments reduce an irritating ‘ghosting’ effect that can occur when light reflects off the inner area of the eye. Commonly found on polarized lenses, this treatment further reduces glare effects. The treatment generally makes the lens 2% darker and can be identified as a bluish tint located on the inside of the lens.

Mirrored treatments

Created by superheated metal oxides applied to the lens surface, this treatment reflects light and further reduces glare. Mirrored treatments tune the light transmission of lenses for specific sports applications or environments as well as for aesthetics.  We love the style that some of these treatments give the lenses and we think you will too. For a high-fashion look in multiple colors, try a mirror coating. This ultra-sleek look reduces glare and helps prevent eye fatigue.

For more detailed information about how Island Retina can help you see a brighter future, call us at one of our 2 convenient locations: Commack, NY 631-486-6672 or Shirley, NY 631-924-4300. You can also reach us by email through our website’s secure contact page.

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