Colour your world: How tinted lenses affect your vision.
If you like to gaze at the world through rose-coloured glasses, this blog’s for you! You’ve probably already noticed that polarized sunglasses often come in a choice of different lens colours – just to make choosing your perfect pair that much more confusing.
But each colour – including rose – does tend to make a difference to the clarity of your vision in certain conditions, so it’s worth considering what you’ll be using them for before you make your final decisions.
How they work (the science bit).
Coloured lenses alter your perception of colour by acting like colour filters. They’ll absorb all colours except for the colour of the lenses – blue lenses absorb green and red light but let blue hues pass through to your eyes.
That means it will be harder to distinguish green and red objects. In other words, when you look through coloured lenses, it’s like some of the primary colours of light have been deleted from your vision.
Because light waves are usually at their most powerful at the blue end of the spectrum, the most noticeable effects on visual contrast occur by modifying the transmission of visible blue light. Many different lenses highlight specific colours and diminish others, often very effective in variable low-light circumstances.
With that in mind, here’s our guide to the best colour lenses for a range of situations in which you’re likely to find yourself:
Greys: Grey lenses are good for general-purpose use. They reduce eye fatigue and give you true colour perception – in fact, you’ll probably notice colours become richer and deeper even in blinding glare.
Dark grey lenses are great for reducing the maximum amount of visible light in sunny and high glare situations. They’re perfect for true colour recognition, driving, deep-water fishing and everyday use.
Light grey lenses tend to transmit colours evenly and block out glare on partly sunny to bright days. They may however have a light transmission of only 55%, so your eyes might receive more light than the darker grey lenses. They’re a good all rounder option where you want protection in less bright conditions with enhanced colour integrity.
What to use them for: Best coloured lenses for driving, tennis, football, soccer, water sports, and all other outdoor activities.
Perfect for these weather conditions: Good variable weather tint for less sunny or overcast days.
Browns: If you want excellent contrast and depth perception, choose brown or amber lenses. They’re good excellent for bright sunny days, especially with variable conditions, cutting through haze and reducing blue light. Brown lenses, depending on the shading, may particularly highlight greens.
What to use them for: Best coloured lenses for driving, golf, shallow water fishing, high-altitudes, sailing, hiking, target shooting (against a green background), or any sport where you need to judge distance.
Perfect for these weather conditions: Partly cloudy to very sunny days.
Greens: Green lenses are your best choice for golfing, driving, or if you have macular degeneration. They block most ‘blue light’, while maintaining true colour balance and providing high contrast for better visual acuity.
Also great for general-purpose use, they transmit colours evenly and dim glare, while brightening shadows.
What to use them for: Very good coloured lenses for all outdoor activities, a well as for conditions such as macular degeneration.
Perfect for these weather conditions: Good in both rain or sunshine.
Yellows: High contrast yellow lenses are great at dusk and dawn, in overcast conditions or shadowy places. They deliver greater clarity in fog and haze because they filter out the blue light that makes focusing difficult. However, don’t use them in bright conditions and be aware that they may cause colour distortion.
What to use them for: Very effective for cyclists. Also good for skiing, mountain biking, aviation, tennis and target shooting.
Perfect for these weather conditions: First and last light, fog or haze.
Blues: If you’re heading out on the open water, blue or purple sunglass lenses might be your best choice. They deliver maximum contrast and colour in full sun while eliminating glare. Also, blue hued lenses aren’t just fashionable, they also help you to see contours and improve colour perception.
What to use them for: Golf, as well as spectating.
Perfect for these weather conditions: Mist, fog and snow.
Rose: If someone tells you you’re looking at the world through rose-coloured glasses, they might be complimenting you on your cheerful, optimistic nature. On the other hand, they also might be inferring that you’re deluded and unrealistic.
If it’s the latter, the joke’s on them because pink or rose tinted sunglasses are actually quite good for your eyes. They enhance visual depth, reduce eyestrain, help adjust contrast, provide good visibility on the road and make your eyes feel more comfortable, particularly if you live somewhere that it snows. So take that, naysayers!
What to use them for: Cycling, racing.
Perfect for these weather conditions: Good for most, but more especially snow.
So what’s your preferred sunglass tint and why? We’re dying to know!