Which Sun Lenses Are Right For Me?

Which Sun Lenses Are Right for Me?

Rows of sunglassesJuly is UV safety month! If you have read our blog UV and Your Eyes, you know the importance of sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful UV rays. But do you know which lenses are right for your lifestyle? With so many options to choose from, your glasses can become a custom made tool designed for your specific needs. 



Anyone who has ever driven a car in bright sunlight knows that glare can be distracting and dangerous. Glare makes it difficult to see distance and can block the view of people or objects in the road, which leads to hundreds of accidents every year, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHSTA). One of the best ways to combat glare is with polarized sunglasses. Polarization eliminates glare by using a laminate applied to the lens surface. This film blocks all horizontal light rays, allowing only vertical light rays to pass through the filter. By filtering out the horizontal rays, glare is blocked and vision becomes clearer. Polarization also blocks 100% of harmful UV rays. Drivers may wear their preference of lens color, but grey lenses tend to be darkest and block the most light, making grey the best choice for bright, sunny days. 


In addition to driving, glare can interfere with fishing. Light is reflected off the surface of the water, preventing you from seeing below the surface. With polarized lenses, this reflected glare is eliminated so you can see through the surface to the fish below. Water also reflects approximately 10% of UV rays, so the UV protection from polarized lenses is beneficial. Fishermen will benefit most from brown or amber colored lenses. 


Aside from UV protection, the greatest benefit to golfers is contrast enhancement. This allows golfers to see their ball more easily on the grass, and helps to distinguish between fairway and rough. Golfers will benefit most from rose or bronze colored polarized lenses. 


Pilots are one of the few groups who generally cannot wear polarized lenses. Polarization can interfere with the instruments used for flying, but pilots do need sunglasses to help reduce bright light and provide UV protection. One of the most popular lens colors for pilots if G-15, a grey-green tint developed specifically for this activity. G-15 allows 15% light transmission.

Lens colors:

Some lens colors are better than others when it comes to specific activities. Here we will list some popular lens colors and their characteristics. 


Grey is generally the darkest lens tint. It is available in different densities for those who prefer lighter or darker lenses. Grey provides the most natural vision and has the least effect on color perception. It is this best option for bright, direct sunlight. 

Best for: Driving, general use. 


Brown is a warm tint that gives greater contrast enhancement. This lens tint tends to make colors appear more coppery or yellow. It is ideal for most light conditions. 

Best for: Driving, fishing, general use. 


Rose is a lighter, warmer tint that allows for excellent contrast, especially in low lighting conditions. This shade gives colors a comfortable pink tint. It is ideal for overcast days, or anytime additional contrast is needed. 

Best for: Golf, fishing, sports. 


Yellow lenses have increased in popularity in the last few years. They are often advertised as “driving” or “night” glasses. While yellow lenses can help to eliminate glare and enhance contrast, they are generally not safe for use while driving at night. This is because the tint blocks light from entering the eye. Vision is already reduced by the lack of light at night, and adding an additional filter can become dangerous. Our eyes need as much light as possible to see clearly, and this becomes more true at night. Yellow lenses can be beneficial for those who need additional contrast, especially when looking at a bright white background such as a snowy road. They are also useful for enhancing contrast when hunting or shooting targets. Additionally, yellow lenses can be beneficial for enhancing images when vision is reduced due to eye injury or disease, especially for reading or using the computer.

Best for: Skiing, snowmachining, shooting, low vision. 

Lens Materials:


Glass lenses are often used in sunglasses because they offer excellent scratch resistance and superior optical clarity. This material is a great option for many activities where impact resistance is not a concern. For activities where there is increased potential for impact, such as sports like baseball, it is important to choose lenses that offer impact resistance. 


Polycarbonate is commonly used when impact resistance is necessary. It is an extremely safe material, but offers less scratch resistance than glass. The optical clarity is also slightly less than glass. Polycarbonate is significantly lighter than glass, making it a great choice when comfort is a concern.


This material is ideal for almost everyone. Trivex is very impact resistant and offers superior optical quality over polycarbonate, and is thinner and lighter than glass. These qualities make Trivex a great choice for any eyewear purchase. For information about lens materials, read our blog The Eyewear Guide


Anti-Reflective Coatings:

Anti-reflective coatings are primarily used to improve clarity in clear lenses, however they have benefits that will improve sunglasses as well. Premium anti-reflective coatings, such as those sold at Mountain View Optical, are made with an extra durable scratch coating that significantly reduces scratches. Additionally, these coatings help to minimize distracting reflections on the inside of your lens. These reflections typically occur in flatter lenses and minus (nearsighted) prescriptions. Wearers may notice the reflection of their own eye, or objects on the periphery of their lens, which can be detrimental to the clarity and comfort of your eyewear. 

Mirror Coatings:

Mirror coatings are a thin film applied to the outer surface of the lens which makes them highly reflective, like a mirror. They are available in a wide variety of colors and densities. Because they reflect light, they will limit the amount of light transmitted through the lens, making them appear somewhat darker than an uncoated lens. This may be more comfortable for the wearer, but does not add any additional sun protection. Mirror coatings are a great way to customize your lenses, but it should be noted that mirrors do scratch more easily than non-mirrored lenses and should be handled and stored properly. 

These options are some of the most common for sunglasses, but prescription sunglasses can be customized for every individual need, and the possibilities are limitless. For more information about sunglasses, or to make an appointment, please call or text (907) 328-2920. Thank you for taking the time to read our blog, and check out all of the posts on our website at www.mountainvieweyes.com.

Written by: Gina Stafford LDO, COA, ABOC.

Posted in: Eye Doctor in Alaska, Eye Health Guide, Glasses, Patient Education

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2555 Phillips Field Rd – Fairbanks, AK 99709
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