Get extra attitude by adding one of Oakley’s 18 Iridium coatings (Radarlock shown here).
Banzai, a new lightweight sports sunglass, demonstrates Maui Jim’s bi-gradient lens mirroring.

Metallic mirror and flash mirror treatments can look particularly cool on a lightly tinted sun lens or clear lens.

All lenses that have power help people with refractive errors see better. But lenses can do a lot more than aid vision, they can help project an attitude. I’m talking about lenses that can add some real “Pow!” to a pair of eyeglasses. The only way to do that with lenses is to add a mirror treatment. Mirror treatments are one of the coolest features you can add to any eyewear and they go beyond cool because mirror treatments are useful in reducing light transmission and glare through a sun lens.

There are two types of mirror treatments, metallic and dielectric. A metallic mirror treatment reduces visible light by 25% to 35%. Metallic mirrors are a solid, reflective one-way mirror that usually comes in gold, silver, or blue. This, “Don’t mess with me!” type mirror conveys a downright intimidating attitude. You can’t see the wearer’s eyes through this mirror treatment.

When less metallic coating is used, flash mirrors result. Flash mirror treatments reduce visible light by approximately 8% to 12%. Used for fashion, this metallic coating process places just a hint of mirror on the lenses creating unique eye-catching effects. They look particularly cool on a lightly tinted or clear lens.

A dielectric mirror treatment produces fun, brilliant, and funky colors. It’s created by placing organic elements such as quartz and titanium in a vacuum chamber and heating them to a vapor that adheres to the lens’ surface.

MIRROR COLORS Vision-Ease Lens weighs in with three mirror col­ors for its SunRx polarized lens series: gold, silver, and blue. Offered in polar­ized polycarbonate, you’ll find them in semi-finished single vision designs. Using proprietary molding technol­ogy and their Tegra anti-scratch coat­ing, Vision-Ease’s polarized mirror lenses offer rugged functionality and good looks.

Mirror treatment colors may be applied to the entire lens or as a single or double gradient. The coatings come in a full spectrum of colors and can be matched to a frame to enhance the overall attitude of the eyewear.

Mirror treatments are typically applied over a dark tinted lens, but they can be applied over any base color (even clear lenses) on a variety of lens materials and lens styles. Mirror coatings are compatible with polarized and non-polarized lenses as well as photochromic lenses.

Most premium mirror treatments have a protective layer over the mirror surface that shields the surface during cleaning and from minor scuffs and scraps. A hydrophobic topcoat wards off liquids and oils, which keeps the surface cleaner longer as well as making it easier to clean.

Costa Sunglasses, a maker of polarized sunglasses, offers three mirror treatments for its lenses that are encased inside the lens for maximum scratch resistance. Used on their Costa 580 and 400 glass lenses, the process uses vacuum deposition consisting of several layers of metallic oxides applied to the inside of glass wafers. Since the mirror coating is encased within the lens, it is impervious to scratching.

Opticote’s Poker Mirror is the perfect attitude projector for the club circuit or casino.

The Blue Mirror, which comes on a gray base, is designed for bright sun conditions on the open water. The Green Mirror comes on a copper and amber based lens. These lenses offer enhanced visual acuity for activities such as river fishing, but they are also worn by many for everyday use. The Silver Mirror (on a copper base) is intended for outdoor activities that have variable light conditions.

People notice the mirror treatments on Maui Jim, Inc. sunwear. Their mirror treatments can be considered a technical way of finishing off the lenses and according to the company, provide some of the best optics for outdoor eyewear because they reduce glare from above and below each lens. Maui Jim offers two mirror options. Their MauiGradient lenses feature a darker coating at the top of the lens that gradually gets lighter as it progresses down the lens. This lets an appropriate amount of light filter through the bottom of the lens while affording more protection from the sun at the top. A Bi-Gradient mirror has a darker top and bottom; and is lighter in the middle, providing protection from above and below.

Just the brand name Oakley, Inc. says attitude but your patients can apply extra attitude by adding one of Oakley’s 18 Iridium coatings. Oakley’s Iridium® lenses team a lens color with a mirror treatment to fine tune light transmission and optimize performance as well as to

Vision-Ease Lens offers three mirror colors for its SunRx polarized lens series.
Costa’s Fantail features mirrored lenses that are encased for maximum scratch resistance.

create a look tailored to the wearer. Oakley adds Iridium treatment onto its Plutonite High Definition Optics® lenses to meet the demands of athletes,“wanna be” athletes, and those who want attitude in their eyewear. According to Oakley, these high-definition lenses offer clearer and sharper images without visual corruption, helping the wearer see everything exactly where it is, not shifted or distorted. And of course they offer 100% UV filtering and unrivaled impact resistance.

Mirror coating companies usually divide their mirror offerings into general categories depending on the activity. To provide for maximum effect and efficiency, mirror coaters usually recommend a particular base tint with a particular mirror treatment to match the wearer’s intended activity. The categories often include water sports (fishing and boating), land sports (golf and snow skiing), and general wear.

North American Coating Lab-oratories (NACL) offers a large variety of mirror treatments for sports and outdoor enthusiasts. Their Sportlife® series consists of four mirror treatments and tints that ease outdoor light problems. They are offered in functional solid and double-gradient designs. Their Black Mirror, NACL’s darkest mirror offering, creates a signature look that makes other mirrors green with envy.

Opticote provides some pretty stylish colors and attitudes in mirror treatments. Their full mirror collections each have unique features that project some serious attitudes. The New York Collection gradients and double gradients are “Breakfast at Tiffany’s to Sex in the City” on a

CUTTING GLARE Solid mirrors provide the ultimate glare reduction on top of a dark absorptive lens. Gradient mirrored lenses come in handy when there is a strong amount of light from above, for activities like biking and hiking. Double gradient mirrors offer protection from glare above and below the line of sight. Boaters and other water enthusiasts will like mirror treated polarized sun lenses to cut glare and reduce the intensity of the sun.

clear or colored lens. The Miami Collection features today’s hot, tropical colors. Colors in the Chicago Collection reflect “big city energy”. Urban sophistication and glamour is all about flash and solid mirrors in the Los Angeles Collection. The Poker Mirror is the perfect attitude projector for the club circuit, casino, A-list parties, or just looking fashionable. This treatment features a functional thin film designed to hide the eyes while allowing maximum light transmission in low light conditions.

Optical laboratories are also a great source for mirror coatings. With the mirror treatment line named NexTreme, Nexus Vision provides a mirror treatment that makes an attitude statement. Pech Optical’s Safari mirrors create an almost limitless opportunity to customize the patient’s sunwear.

Ophthalmic lenses may refract light and correct vision but that’s pretty boring stuff compared to what a mirror treatment can do for a pair of clear or sun lenses. Use them on eyewear to help your patients make a statement or project an attitude so observers understand the individuality of the wearer while adding protection to their attitude.

Randall L. Smith is the Opticianry Program Director at Baker College in Jackson, MI.


800-447-3700 • costadelmar.com

Maui Jim, Inc.
888-MAUI JIM • mauijim.com

Oakley, Inc.
800-733-6255 • oakley.com

North American Coating Laboratories
866-216-6225 • nacl.com

Opticote, Inc.
800-248-6784 • opticote.com

Nexus Vision
866-492-6499 • nexusvisiongroup.com

Vision-Ease Lens
800-328-3449 • vision-ease.com


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