Monday, July 9, 2012

Sunglasses? What Color Lens Should I Get?

It's Summer time! We are in the full swing of sunglasses season. We've talked in the past about the importance of protecting your eyes from Ultraviolet light, and we've discussed what polarization is. Let's talk a little bit in general about the color of sunglass lenses, and then over a few posts we can break down some of the specifics of lens color.

All sunglasses limit some part of the natural light that surrounds us from getting into the eye. Visible Light Transmission (VLT) is a measure of how much light gets through in general. The darker the lens the smaller the VLT, and the smaller the VLT the less light gets through. The first thing to think about when you buy sunglasses is how much dimming do you want from your lenses. The brighter your environment (beach, snowfield) the lower you want your VLT.

The next consideration is color. More specifically, what color of light do you wish to filter out with your sunglasses, or what color to you wish to let in? The color of light is determined by its wavelength. A lens can be designed to filter out all wavelengths, or you can choose specific wavelengths or colors to filter out. If you do this you will make the un-filtered colors stand out more.

Most people will do best with general purpose sunglasses that simply decrease all of the wavelenths or colors that come through. Grey or Brown lenses are suggested for this. Grey will be darker, dimming everything. Brown lenses tend to let you keep your sense of colors better than grey. If you are choosing sunglasses for very common tasks like driving you can't go wrong with either Grey or Brown lenses.

Stay tuned for discussions about special use lens colors, coming soon on the SkyVision blog!

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