Tinted Lenses and Mirror Coatings

Editor: Dr. Russel Lazarus, Published December 6, 2020

Thinking about adding a little color to your lenses? 

When purchasing new eyeglasses or sunglasses, you may want to think about adding some color to your lenses.

Tinted lenses can enhance your vision for indoor and outdoor activities, protect your eyes from harmful UV and blue light, increase eye comfort, and can even enhance your style.

Tinted lenses come in a variety of colors and shades, and can be gradient or solid. Gradient tints are darker at the top and gradually fade to a lighter shade towards the bottom, while solid tints remain the same shade of color throughout the lens.

Every tinted lens offers a unique set of features and benefits, including:

  • Improved vision clarity
  • Increased color contrast
  • Decreased light sensitivity
  • Improved color perception
  • Enhanced style and cosmetic appeal

Contact an eye doctor near you to find out if colored contacts are a good fit for your eyes.

Different colored tints 

Yellow lenses are commonly referred to as ‘low light’ glasses or night driving glasses, and are designed to improve vision clarity and contrast in low light conditions. Yellow tints can also help to protect against the sun’s harmful UV rays and filter blue light from digital device screens— thereby decreasing fatigue and symptoms of digital eye strain.

Pink and red lenses are recommended for driving, as they offer protection from glare and improve depth perception. These colors also filter out blue light, allowing you to see fine details more clearly.

Blue lenses can be worn for indoor and outdoor visibility. They are great for reducing yellow light and glare.

Gray lenses are the most common choice for sunglasses because they offer the most accurate color visibility. Gray lenses are also dark enough to protect your eyes from bright light, while being light enough to preserve visual clarity.

Dark amber/copper/brown lenses are known for reducing eye strain and fatigue caused by bright light and glare. These colors also filter blue light and improve color contrast.

Dark green and grey lenses are perfect colors for sunglasses because they reduce brightness while maintaining color contrast and clarity.

Dark blue lenses are another great choice for sunglasses as they reduce glare while enhancing color perception.

Since each tinted lens provides different features and benefits, it is important to think about your personal lifestyle before deciding on a color for your new lenses. 

Most eyecare professionals recommend a lens color that will enhance visual clarity and depth perception, while reducing eye strain and fatigue. 

Your optometrist can show you a variety of sample tinted lenses. Take your time to trial each one to determine which color provides the most comfortable vision.

What are mirrored lenses?

Mirrored lenses are both fashionable and functional. 

Mirrored lenses help to reflect sunlight away from your lenses to improve visual clarity on sunny days.

Mirror coatings are available in a wide variety of colors and can be applied to any type of lens material.

One of the most common types of mirror coatings is known as the ‘half mirror’ which provides a full dense reflective surface on the outer surface of the lens and completely hides the eyes. Another common mirror coating called the ‘flash mirror’, is less dense than the half mirror and provides a more transparent look.

Keep in mind that the greater the density of the coating, the more reflective it will be— creating a stronger “mirrored” look.

While beneficial for blocking glare, mirrored lenses have the tendency to make objects appear darker and may therefore reduce vision clarity. To improve vision clarity, you may want to think about combining a mirror coating with a light tint, such as gold, blue, or silver.

Which type of tinted lens is right for you?

Each tinted lens provides different visual benefits — the color and density of the lens you choose is truly a personal decision.

Before choosing a specific color, think carefully about your specific lifestyle and what you are looking to achieve with your new eyewear.

Schedule a contact lens fitting to make sure the lens you choose provides you with clear vision and maximum comfort.