Sunglass Lenses 101

Shopping for a pair of sunglasses can be a nightmare. With the proliferation of brands, lens materials, curves, tints, and coatings there are just too many options for the average consumer to know what’s best. And that’s not even considering the most important standard of all, will they make you look cool? Here’s a breakdown of features you may find when shopping for shades and what they mean.

Sunglasses vs. RX Sunglasses

This one is pretty simple and straight forward:

- Sunglasses are just that, glasses you wear in the sun to either help you see, protect your eyes, and – again – look as cool as possible. They provide no other benefit.

- RX Sunglasses on the other hand are frames that companies can insert prescription lenses into. For you eyeglass wearers out there that means you don’t have to worry about popping in contacts or switching back and forth between the two while on the beach or out on a hike. The great thing is, once you discover a pair of frames you love you can be sure to hold onto them forever. If your prescription changes, you can simply have a new set of lenses crafted to fit your favorite frames.

To Polarize or Not To Polarize

- Why You Might Say Yes: The popularity of polarized lenses has soared in the past couple years, but what is the rage all about? Once popular mainly with fishermen and boaters, the rest of us are just now catching on to the benefit of polarized lenses. If you have sensitive eyes or just can’t stand the glare that comes off of the surface of water, or windows, or doors then polarized lenses would be for you. They have a special filter that helps reduce glare and keeps your clear to do their job.

- Why you Might Say No: Polarized lenses may not be the best for every situation. You see, the filter in them not only blocks out the glare of the sun, but also various LCD or LED displays. This makes it particularly difficult to read consoles in cars, certain digital watches, and even your phone or tablet display. So, if you expect to be going back and forth between your phone and something important all while wearing your sunglasses, then it may be wise to avoid these types of lenses. Also, there may be times when it’s imperative that a person see the glare of the sun in which case polarized lenses may be dangerous. Skiers have complained that wearing goggles or glasses with polarized lenses prohibits them from seeing the sun reflecting off patches of ice and they have found themselves in some less than desirable tumbles because of it.

Fogless Fun

One of the most exciting new trends in lenses, particularly in sunglasses, is the advent of fogless lenses. The name speaks for itself. Runners, skiers, paint ballers, and anyone who has ever had their chosen interrupted by a blinding fog that crawls across their lenses can attest, it’s the worst. With fogless lenses you are paying a little more, but the quality of life improvement cannot be measured.

Color Me Impressed

When shopping for that fresh pair of shades, most people look at the color of the lenses simple as another fashion statement. Something that will make them look cool, but if you believe that you’re missing out on another huge advantage of modern lenses for sunglasses.

Copper, orange, yellow, amber and brown lens tints actually serve a very specific purpose. These lenses are actually able to block blue light which means they brighten up any place you are in. Be aware that copper, orange, and yellow lenses – by their nature – will not only brighten up a room, but also distort color a bit. So they’re not advisable if seeing colors clearly is critical for you. If you’re looking for the clearest and cleanest view, stick with the brown or bronze lenses since color distortion is at a minimum.

For a more comprehensive list of tinted lenses and the benefits they provide, take a look here.

For any questions, please contact us.

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