May 19, 2023
If you’ve always worn black sunglasses, you may find it surprising when you see someone with pink mirror lenses. Do those actually do anything to block the sun, or is that person trying to look cool with a pop of color?
Actually, both things are true! Colored lenses date back to the 18th century. James Ayscough was an English eye doctor who tinted regular glasses either blue or green because he believed that helped with certain vision problems.
This idea paved the way for sunglasses, and now we know that certain lens colors work best for different scenarios (even those pink ones). To learn which lens colors work best for your needs, we’ve gathered all the intel in this extensive sunglass lens color guide.
The Importance of Different Sunglasses Lens Color
Sunglasses make or break an activity based on their lens color. For example, manyaviator frame stylesmade for pilots come in gray, gray-green, and brown sunglass lens colors. These colorsboost contrastand make a pilot’s vision more vivid, so they can adjust and make quick decisions, even when it’s hazy outside.
However, these colors don’t work best in every scenario. Snowboarders often use rose-colored lenses in their shades because they improve depth perception when looking into snow. But if you wear rose-colored lenses all the time, your eyescanquickly become fatigued.
So, you need to pick the lens tint that works best withtheactivity you want to wear your sunglasses for.
Wavelengths and How They Affect Your Eyes
Many of us were taught in school the acronym Roy G. Biv (which stands for red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet) to remember the colors of the rainbow. These same colors make up the visible light spectrum. Red light is the longest on the spectrum and affects our eyes the least. Ultraviolet (UV) light is the shortest and the worst for our eyes.
Two types of light hurt our eyes. UVA and UVB are the two types of ultraviolet light that damage your eyes and makethemage faster, leading to issues like cancer and deteriorated vision. The way to defend your eyes from these wavelengths is to purchase sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection.
The tint does not matter for UV rays; rather, the sunglasses must say that they offer 100% UVA/UVB protection. If you find a pair of sunglasses for ten bucks that don’t specify if they offer UVA/UVB protection, then assume that they don’t.
The other wavelength that affects your eyes is blue light. This type of light is slightly longer than ultraviolet but sits right next to it on the visible light spectrum. Blue light typically comes from technology like computers and phones but still damages eyes and can lead to macular degeneration.
Clear, yellow, red, and amber sunglasses can all block blue light. However, you still need to check with the manufacturer that they specifically filter out the blue light wavelength.
Lens Colors and Their Benefits
Each sunglass lens color offers something unique for either an outdoor adventure or time spent inside. Peruse our list of the most popular lens colors and their benefits to find the right ones for you!
Shades with grey lenses are the most popular among pilots because they help block sunlight without affecting the color of objects outside as severely. Whether you’re driving, flying, or hiking outside all day, grey lenses won’t get in the way.
If you live somewhere like the Pacific Northwest, then you need a pair of sunglasses that work for both cloudy and sunny days.Brown lensesincrease contrast and help you see depth better but don’t block the sun quite as well as gray. Brown lenses work as a great all-around pair of sunglasses in multiple types of environments, no matter how sunny it is outside.
Green lenseshelp block out blue light and bright sunlight without compromising color contrast. Green lenses are excellent for sports where you have to follow a ball extensively, like tennis, volleyball, or golf.
Any snowboarders know that yellow lenses are the ones to purchase for the slopes. Yellow sunglasses lenses highlight visibility in low-light conditions, like those cloudy days when there may be some light snowfall. Yellow lenses protect your eyes during dusk as well, so that you can see clearly even when the sun has dropped behind the horizon.
If you find yourself with constant tension headaches due to eye strain, try out somerose-colored sunglasses. Rose lenses relax your eyes and improve visual contrast, especially when you’re looking at snow.
Blue lensesfare well for water sports because they make glare more comfortable to look at and relax your eyes. Many people wear theseforoutdoor sports andthey'regreat for everyday use in bright light conditions. If you want reading sunglasses, blue lenses keep your eyes relaxed in the sun so you can focus on the page in front of you.
How to Choose the Right Lens for You
To choose the right lens for you, consider what activity you will use them for, the typical lighting conditions, and your personal preference.
If you know you want them for driving, then brown lenses work well on cloudy and sunny days, helping you see better every time you get behind the wheel. But if you’re using them exclusively for beach volleyball on Saturdays, then green sunglasses would be best when you have to stare into the sun excessively to nail that spike.
The city of Phoenix, AZ is one of the sunniest cities in America, with the sun out 85% of the time. If you live in sunnier climates, you want a lens color for bright light conditions, so you should go with blue, green, brown, or grey.
However, if you live in Anchorage, Alaska, which has over 230 cloudy days per year, it’d be more beneficial to pick sunglasses best for low light conditions. Go with lens colors such as rose, yellow, or brown to optimize your vision.
To narrow it down further, think about which colors you like best. No one can decide this for you, so head to a glasses shop near you and try on a few pairs to find which lens color you find the most comfortable.
You should also consider other lens factors, like whether you want thelenses to be polarized, if you want to add a mirrored coating, or if the shades should block 100% UVA/UVB rays.
How to Maintain Your Lenses
To maintain your lenses,clean your sunglassesregularly with mild, non-lotion dish soap in warm water. Never place your sunglasses lens-side down on a surface, always set them down folded on top of the arms.Don'tforget to store your sunglasses in aprotective casewhen you're not wearing themso they don’t get scratched while storing them in your pocket or purse.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is the Most Versatile Sunglass Lens Color?
The most versatile sunglass lens color is gray, followed closely by brown. Gray lenses reduce glare in any lighting condition and maintain colors, making them the best choice for almost any activity. Brown lenses also work well because they enhance contrast in the sun but don’t make the colors quite as clear.
What Is the Best Polarized Color Lens?
The best polarized color lens is green because it doesn’t change the colors of objects when you’re looking through the lens. Green lenses offer excellent contrast and lighten shadows so that it’s easier to see. Brown polarized lenses are best for low-light conditions and blue polarized sunglasses work best if you solely want to enhance the colors.
What Color Lenses Are Best for Everyday Use?
Dark-colored lenses are the best for everyday use. These include brown, black, and grey, and they stop glare so that you don’t have to squint when looking into the sun or in bright conditions.
Dark colors (brown/gray/green) are ideal for everyday use and most outdoor activities. Darker shades are intended primarily to cut through the glare and reduce eyestrain in moderate-to-bright conditions. Gray and green lenses won't distort colors, while brown lenses may cause minor distortion.What color of sunglass lens will suit me? ›
Warm skin tones are characterized by tanned skin, brown or black eyes, and green rather than blue veins. With a warm skin tone, try red, brown, beige, orange, golden or yellow frames. These colours flatter your skin. Choose fiery colours or a juicy brown for your lenses.What do different colors of sunglass lenses do for the I? ›
Benefits of various color lenses in sunglasses
Some sunglasses tints enhance colors you see, making them appear more vivid. Other tint colors help distort colors, reduce glare, block light and even improve visual acuity.
Yes, color does matter when it comes to tinted sunglasses. In addition to elevating your style, lens color plays a big role in your overall eye health and performance in certain activities. That means that finding the perfect colored lens depends on you and your needs.What is the most popular lens color in sunglasses? ›
Gray or smoke-colored lenses are the most popular choices. That's not surprising, since they provide a clear image on both sunny and cloudy days, and provide great overall protection against glare. Additionally, gray lenses allow true color recognition so you'll see colors in their truest form.Is grey or brown better for sunglasses? ›
If you want a good all-around pair of sunglasses or can only take one pair on a trip, then brown lenses are a good choice. They are not as good as gray lenses when it comes to blocking sunlight, but they do an excellent job while increasing contrast, clarity, and depth perception by filtering out blue light.What color lens is best for cloudy days? ›
The Best Lens Color for Overcast Days
That color is anything in neighborhood of the yellow family – very light brown to amber to yellow to orange to orange-red. The reason is because overcast days create a lot of “blue light,” light from the bluish stage of the light spectrum.
Gray lenses are one of the most common for a standard pair of sunwear. This color reduces the glare of light when reflecting off of surfaces like water or pavement. In addition to cutting glare, gray lenses easily shield bright light, making them an excellent option for sunny or cloudy days.What color tint is best for light sensitivity? ›
Blue tinted lenses for light sensitivity and seizures
It is believed that blue colored lenses are especially effective in preventing this abnormal brain response. Blue-tinted lenses have are also considered to be useful for people who suffer from light-triggered headaches and migraines.
Opaque coloured tints are the best choice if you have dark eyes. For a natural-looking change, try a lighter honey brown or hazel coloured lens. But if you really want to stand out from the crowd, opt for contact lenses in vivid colours, such as blue, green or violet.
When examining different types of lenses and sunglass styles, neither lens color nor price plays a factor in safety from the sun's harmful UV rays. It isn't the shade or darkness of the lens that indicates the level of eye protection; it's the coatings.Which is better blue coating or green coating lenses? ›
– Blue is going to perform better in extremely bright light. Does your day or activity consist of varying lighting conditions? – Green is going to perform better in lower light, but will leave wearers squinting in extremely bright situations.What is the best color for polarized lenses? ›
What's the Best Polarized Lens Color for Driving? This often comes down to personal preference, but the best lens color options for driving are usually gray or amber. Gray is generally better for bright, hazy, sunny conditions. Amber is often better for cloudy, overcast days and rain.Is brown or black better for sunglasses? ›
Brown sunglasses look best on women with medium or dark hair. They also bring out some nice tones in women with red or auburn hair. Black shades, on the other hand, are perfect for fair-haired, fair-complexioned ladies.How dark should sunglass lenses be? ›
Darkness: Go with 75 per cent, considered a medium darkness, says optician Telenko. Most days aren't brilliant, and you won't need to whip them off the second you are indoors. For sensitive eyes, try the darker glasses that keep out 85 per cent of light. A darker tint shouldn't cost more.How to choose Ray Ban lens color? ›
Ray-Ban offers a variety of lens colors, including brown, grey, green, and blue. Brown lenses are great for everyday use and offer good contrast. Grey lenses are perfect for outdoor use and provide excellent glare reduction. Green lenses are ideal for sports and other activities where you need enhanced contrast.What color sunglasses look best on light skin? ›
For Light Skin Tone
Sunglasses in neutral or dark hues like brown and gold will look awesome on someone with a warm and light skin tone. You may also like to stick with darker hues but don't always choose black. Dark blue or rich pink colors appeal to warm undertones.
If you are looking for better contrast to increase visual acuity for things like golfing and fishing, then transition brown is the color for you. If you are looking for the absolute darkest transition lens possible, you should veer towards transition gray.What color lens is best for night vision? ›
Driving can cause a strain on your eyes especially at night because of the lights of oncoming traffic. So what is considered the best lens color for night driving…well, there are 2 options; either a clear lens with an AR (anti-reflective) coating or a yellow lens with an AR coating.Are clear lenses better than yellow for night riding? ›
a yellow lens is still a tint and as such will limit some light entering the lenses so they cannot possibly be as good as a clear lens in dark, night time conditions with no ambient light. yellow is a very high contrast colour which means it sharpens up the field of vision – good if your eyes are tired.
Dark colors (brown/gray/green) are ideal for everyday use and most outdoor activities. Darker shades are intended primarily to cut through the glare and reduce eyestrain in moderate-to-bright conditions. Gray and green lenses won't distort colors, while brown lenses may cause minor distortion.Are grey polarized lenses good? ›
Gray polarized lenses give you UV protection and anti-glare. These lenses are especially useful for people who are into water sports, as they significantly reduce glare off of water surfaces.What are green sunglass lenses good for? ›
GREEN SUNGLASS LENSES
It does not distort colour perception and offers good contrast vision. With that in mind, green lenses are great for reducing visual fatigue. This tint is recommended for golf, tennis, and other outdoor activities.
For general use, grey green or brown tinted lenses are popular for true colour perception, whilst blue or yellow tints are better suited to specific purposes and/or light conditions. Grey tinted sun lenses are the most common colour amongst sunglasses.How do I choose a tint color? ›
There are several different undertones. To know yours, simply look at the colour of your veins. If the veins visible on through your skin appear green, your undertone is warm and will lean towards yellow. If your veins appear blue, you likely have a cold, pink undertone.Why do people wear blue tinted glasses? ›
Blue light has been shown to be related to symptoms like eye strain, blurry vision, headaches, dry eye, and sleep disturbances with overexposure. Tinted eyeglasses, often called blue light glasses or blue blockers, are designed to lessen the effects of blue light.Which lens color looks natural? ›
To keep your eyes looking natural, go for brown or hazel colored lens.What eye color needs glasses the most? ›
As of now, the commonly accepted theory is that eye colour has no real effect on vision quality. It's significant to note that while people with lighter eyes may have increased light sensitivity, those with dark eyes should still make it a point to wear sunglasses whenever they set foot outside.What lens best matches the human eye? ›
Understanding Human Field of View
We often hear that a 50mm lens on a full frame camera is the closest to the human field of view. We call the 50mm a standard lens because the focal length is equal to the diagonal size of its sensor. Our eyes' focal length is approximately 22mm.
Check how dark they look
One way is to hold them up in front of your face, looking at them from an angle and then testing how dark they look. If you can see everything behind them clearly, then they're not UV protected. Another way is to ask someone wearing glasses whether or not they're blocking all of their UV rays.
Double gradient lenses are a great choice if you want sunglasses that aren't too dark but shield your eyes from bright overhead sunlight and light reflecting off sand, water and other reflective surfaces at your feet. Photochromic lenses adjust their level of darkness based on the amount of UV light they're exposed to.What sunglasses for driving not too dark? ›
Those with gray lenses reduce brightness without distorting color and are ideal for driving. Those with brown or amber lenses have the ability to reduce blue light and glare. Gradient lenses are similar to your car's windshield.What is the disadvantage of blue coating glasses? ›
Cons of Blue Light Glasses
The blue cut lenses alter the colour of everything you see in the yellow hue. Another blue cut lenses disadvantage is that they are unable to protect skin that also contains melanopsin, a photoreceptor that tells your body whether it is day or night.
Blue Light lens coatings
Cons: Many coatings don't filter a meaningful range of the Blue Light that actually comes off electronic devices. Plus, the lenses are highly reflective (which can be distracting to you and others), and they often have a blue tint, which can be unsightly.
Polarised lenses are a good choice for drivers because they dramatically reduce glare from headlights and light reflecting off of wet surfaces on the road. This makes for a much more comfortable driving experience by reducing the strain on your eyes and providing UV protection.
If it's cloudy or rainy, gray polarized lenses can help enhance contrast and reduce glare from wet roads. If it's bright and sunny, gray lenses help keep your eyes comfortable from the glare. They also display accurate colors outside, so you'll have true color perception while wearing gray shades.When should you not use polarized lenses? ›
Polarized lenses may not be the ideal choice in every situation. For instance, devices that use LCD displays emit polarized light. If your car uses LCD displays for basic controls, you should avoid polarized sunglasses while you drive.Is it worth paying extra for polarized lenses? ›
If you spend a lot of time on the road, on the golf course, on the water or in the mountains, polarized lenses are a good investment. They reduce harmful (and annoying) glare on reflective surfaces like pavement and water, making objects appear clearer—like a golf ball, highway lines or a trail deep in the woods.Why do people wear dark sunglasses? ›
While most people reach for their dark lenses because of the bright glare of the sun, other people wear their shades for more reasons than simply sun protection. Sometimes, these reasons cross the threshold into the home, workplace, shopping mall, sports arena and the doctor's office.What color sunglasses for medium skin tone? ›
If you have medium skin with cool undertones, you'll have pink and blue undertones on your forearm. Tropical colors like blues and greens work well, but you can also get away with dark reds and browns. If you have darker skin with warm yellow undertones, consider metal frames, darker browns, cognacs, and ambers.
Understated and chic, black sunglasses are also a multipurpose accessory. Classic styles protect your eyes while effortlessly adding a sleek finish to any outfit. Thick-framed square lenses make a statement. And polarized aviators block out harsh UV rays with a cool bent.Which sunglasses are best for driving? ›
Although gray and green lenses have their own benefits, and colorful lenses are fun, copper and amber tints increase contrast, making them the best options for driving. If you're looking for a crisp, clear view, we suggest finding a pair of shades with amber or copper lenses – and extra points if they're polarized.Which sunglass lens color is darkest? ›
What are category 4 sunglasses? These are the darkest sun lenses. Because they absorb so much visible light, they're illegal to wear for driving. Generally, these lenses are only suitable for extreme exposure scenarios such as high-altitude mountaineering.Are Category 4 sunglasses too dark? ›
Category 4 sunglasses are ideal for snowboarding or skiing activities, as they let in less than 8% of UV light. However, this category is not recommended for use while driving as the lens is too dark to see clearly. Only sunglasses with a filter category of 0-3 are considered safe for driving.Which lens color is attractive? ›
We found that green is the most popular lens colour, with brown coming in a close second, despite it being one of the most common eye colours. Although blue and hazel are seen as the most attractive eye colours for men and women they are surprisingly the least popular.Are black or brown sunglasses better? ›
Brown sunglasses look best on women with medium or dark hair. They also bring out some nice tones in women with red or auburn hair. Black shades, on the other hand, are perfect for fair-haired, fair-complexioned ladies. The contrast makes blond tresses stunning.What color all around polarized lens is best? ›
Green – Green lenses are best for general purposes. They create an even color perception, brighten shadows, and offer good contrast. Grey – Another option for basic use, grey lenses reduce strain to your eyes, offer excellent color perception, and minimize glare.What is the most desirable eye color? ›
When broken down by gender, men ranked gray, blue, and green eyes as the most attractive, while women said they were most attracted to green, hazel, and gray eyes. Despite brown eyes ranking at the bottom of our perceived attraction scale, approximately 79% of the world's population sports melanin-rich brown eyes.What color sunglass lens is most versatile? ›
Dark colors (brown/gray/green) are ideal for everyday use and most outdoor activities. Darker shades are intended primarily to cut through the glare and reduce eyestrain in moderate-to-bright conditions. Gray and green lenses won't distort colors, while brown lenses may cause minor distortion.Are green or brown lenses better for sunglasses? ›
Sunglasses with green lenses provide better contrast than gray lenses and transmit color accuracy better than brown lenses and are ideal for both sunny and low-light environments. Perfect for water or field sports, cycling or skiing, green lenses protect and comfort your eyes on foggy, cloudy, or bright, sunny days.
When examining different types of lenses and sunglass styles, neither lens color nor price plays a factor in safety from the sun's harmful UV rays. It isn't the shade or darkness of the lens that indicates the level of eye protection; it's the coatings.How dark should my sunglasses be? ›
Darkness: Go with 75 per cent, considered a medium darkness, says optician Telenko. Most days aren't brilliant, and you won't need to whip them off the second you are indoors. For sensitive eyes, try the darker glasses that keep out 85 per cent of light. A darker tint shouldn't cost more.