Finding the Perfect Sunglasses

Couple wearing tinted sunglasses - one of the many eye safety tips recommended.

Sunglasses have become an important way for individuals to express their personality or enhance their style. Some prefer a sophisticated look, while others like a plain design. Either way, it is important to wear sunglasses to protect your vision by minimizing the impact of the sun on your eyes and improve your overall eye care.

Sunglasses are available in many different frame designs and lens tints designed to enhance your visual needs in different environments. Review the following information to understand the options before making your purchase.

Frame Styles – Whether you purchase prescription or non-prescription sunglasses, look for well-constructed frames designed for your specific needs:

  • Prescription sunglasses can be made from most frames, except those from inexpensive stores or wrap-around designs
  • Consult an optician (an eyeglass professional) for assistance in selecting a frame that fits your face and vision needs and is designed to provide the durability you expect

Lens Color – There are many lens tint options to meet different vision needs:

  • Brown, dark amber or copper – Best color to protect your eyes from harmful sun rays; enhances visibility in low-light situations; blocks high amounts of blue light
  • Gray – Masks bright light; preserves 100 percent of normal color recognition
  • Yellow or orange – Heightens contrasts in low-light conditions; filters blue for sharper focus
  • Amber, rose or red – Improves light contrast in partly cloudy and sunny conditions; increases significant color imbalances; enhances visibility of objects against blue and green backgrounds
  • Green – minimally improves contrast while preserving color balance

Lens Tint Levels – Eyeglass lenses vary in tint levels, depending on the length of time they are immersed in a color solution:

  • 20 percent tint density – Designed for fashion only; provides minimal sun protection
  • 50 percent density – Common tint density that provides moderate or normal protection from the sun
  • 80 percent tint density – Considered the maximum level of sun protection

Lens Coating – Several options are available to improve sunglass function and safety:

  • Hydrophobic coating repels water
  • Anti-scratch improves durability
  • Anti-fog is helps combat humidity

Prescription Lens Tint Options – Opticians can design glasses with specialty tints:

  • Gradient – Darkest at the top of the lens and progressively fades toward the bottom
  • Mirror coating – Designed to reflect glare in bright light situations; blocks others from seeing into the lens; does not affect vision acuity
  • Photochromic – Darkens when exposed to sunlight; lightens up when returning indoors; lenses will not fully darken if a hat is worn with them
  • Polarized – Blocks glare by limiting vertical sun rays; lessens eyestrain; good option for water activities
  • Anti-reflective – Applied to the inside of the lenses to reduce glare and light from the side or rear

Why do you wear sunglasses? What is your favorite lens tint color? – Scott Delisi, Ameritas Group