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Tints, mirrors, polarization and other sunwear technology

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Tints, mirrors, polarization and other sunwear technology

We’ve all become much more aware of the need to protect ourselves from the damage that the sun’s UV rays can cause.  Powerful campaigns like Slip-Slap-Slop has helped to educate us to the need to make sure we take the necessary precautions.  The importance of the advice from these campaigns can not be ignored and another factor which they help raise is the need to protect our eyes as well.  When it comes to choosing sunglasses, though, the choices can seem a little bewildering.
Nikon’s SunStyle lens selections
Standard tinted lenses work by absorbing a portion of the visible light going through a lens, the light allowed to pass through is what gives the colour of the tint we see.  When choosing a tint colour, there is not really a “correct” choice, it all comes down to personal preference and taking in to account when you will be wearing the glasses.
A few things to consider are that a very dark tint will be better for brighter conditions.  Coloured tints like brown, green and blue will alter the apparent colour of objects that you see, grey should not.  The darkness of the tint does not indicate the level of UV protection.
ic! berlin Boombox Noize
Slightly different from absorption tints, are mirror tints.  These tints reflect the light, rather than absorb it, and work by having a thin layer of a metal on the front surface of the lens, often combined with a standard absorption tint within the lens.  Again it is important to check for the UV protection as the reflective surface alone does not guarantee UV protection.
There are many options when it comes to mirror coatings and they can produce dramatically varying effects, dependent on the metals used and the thickness of the coatings. Sports eyewear often includes a subtle flash coating of just a minimal amount of reflectance, fashion ranges include fantastic colours to completement the frames.  Perhaps the current masters of this are ic berlin!
Another common consideration when it comes to sunglass lenses is decide if you would benefit from polarized lenses.  Polarized lenses work like standard sunglass tints, however, have a special filter in them to also remove light which is poloarized.  Sources of polarized light tend to be surfaces which reflect light, like water, snow.
Many outdoor enthusiasts enjoy the benefit of polarized lenses to help reduce distracting glare and have enhanced vision for their hobbies, however, polarized lenses are not always the best option.  Polarized lenses can create issues when trying to read the surface, for example in downhill skiing or golf.  They can also block out light from LED and LCD screens, making smartphones, tablets and even dashboard dials difficult to read.
One newer development with polarized lenses is a trend for lenses which also provide true or even enhanced colour perception.  Examples of this include the Nikon Radiance lens and the Smith Optics Chromapop lens:  
Smith Optics Chromapop
The choice between the different options can seem bewildering and it may not be easy to work out what is the best option for you.  Our best advice is to come in to Ocean and spends some time chatting with us about what you want and how you’re going to use your glasses and we’ll help guide you through the choices.  Then get outdoors and enjoy the summer!
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