Choosing the Right Sunglass Tint for You

When trying to decide which sunglass lens is right for you, there are essentially only two major considerations: 1) what type of filters does the lens offer and 2) with which, if any, coatings. It’s the quality of each of these options that really differentiates one pair of sunglasses from another.

The most important filter on ALL sunglasses is a UV 400 filter which removes 100 % of damaging UVA and UVB rays. This is actually a clear filter which, while providing  the necessary protection, still requires the addition of tints and coatings to become a true sunglass lens.
Not sure if your current pair is 100% UV protected?
Feel free to drop into our office anytime where we can provide a complimentary UV scan of your sunglasses to ensure your eyes are properly protected.
 Internal filters:  the most common consideration in choosing a sunglass lens (after ensuring it is providing 100% UV protection) is the tint used. Below is a guide to tint colours to help you decide which may be the best fit for you.

Another internal filter is a polarization filter which is a specially aligned ‘mesh-like’ filter that is sandwiched inside the lens to remove reflected light from surfaces like water, sand, snow and asphalt. This removes unwanted glare and results in better contrast and reduced reflection for water activities, skiing, driving, etc.


Coatings:  Mirrored coatings are extremely popular this season! They offer privacy and can help ‘hide’ thick prescriptions. The technology uses thick layers of metal oxide on the lens surface that reflect either partially, known as a flash mirror coating, or completely as a full mirror coating. It’s useful to know that while a rainbow of colour options are available, these coatings WILL NOT alter your light perception like tints so.. have some fun with coloured mirrors this season!
Anti-Glare Coatings Reflection on the back of basic sunglass lenses can INCREASE UV exposure by up to 7 times the level of a non-sunglass wearer. The application of advanced anti-glare coatings is what often differentiates quality sunglasses from their lesser counterparts.
So, no matter what look you’re going for this sunglass season, we are here to help you navigate the many lens options available to help protect your eyes and optimize your outdoor lifestyle.


About the Author:

Dr. Kirsch graduated from the University of Waterloo in 1990. Originally from south-western Ontario, she headed out after graduation to see if the west was really best. Together with Dr. Anderson, she founded the first optometry practice on Salt Spring Island. In 1994 she relocated to the Warm Land after joining the longest established optometry practice in the Cowichan Valley. Over 25 years later, she can personally say that any place that allows you to practice what you love, scuba dive and downhill ski all on the same weekend (if you still can) is truly the best place to be.

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