Costa’s Little Harbor is available in Costa 400 or Costa 580 lenses for outdoor activities.

Smaller sunwear manufacturers are producing absorptive lenses with features that compete with the ‘big guys.’

Just like any other industry, there are always a few giants who have been successful at what they do. In the ophthalmic lens arena, huge companies like Carl Zeiss Vision Inc., Essilor of America, Inc., HOYA VISION CARE, North America, and Seiko Optical Products of America, Inc. dominate the business. You’ll find some excellent products from these companies, but in the world of absorptive lenses, these large companies are not the only ones that provide top-quality products. A number of smaller companies, like the ones mentioned here, specialize in sunwear and offer very impressive lenses.

The Costa 400™ lenses are designed for adventure and built to perform. These lenses are made for anyone who lives, works, or plays on the water. They provide 100% polarization, 100% UV protection, and have ideal clarity, contrast, and definition.

Tints and transmission levels in Kaenon’s Squeeze Passion Tea combine to improve visibility for any activity, weather ­condition, or time of day.

Costa 580™ lenses use patented technology to reduce yellow light. According to the company, this allows the eye to see more red, blue, and green, which can be especially helpful when in a boat, fishing from a pier, etc. Costa claims that yellow light near 580nm is particularly difficult for the eye to process so the company made sure Costa 580 lenses can handle it. They are available in gray, copper, blue mirror, green mirror, and silver mirror.

The company touts that its LightWAVE™ glass lenses are 20% thinner and 22% lighter than regular glass lenses, and still exceed federal standards for impact resistance. Its CR-39® lenses offer ideal resolution in an optically correct, light­weight, and scratch-resistant plastic lens

MIRROR, MIRROR If you’re really looking for small companies that have big surprises in sun lenses, check out these coating and wholesale labs who, among others, offer some unique mirror treatments:
North American Coating Labora­tories offers a large variety of mirror treatments. For sports and outdoor enthusiasts, the Sportlife® series eases outdoor light problems. The Black Mirror, the company’s darkest mirror offering, creates a signature look.
Opticote, Inc.’s Poker Mirror is fashionable, functional, and hides the eyes while allowing maximum light transmission in low light conditions. It’s a must-have for going to clubs, casinos, and A-list parties.
Optical laboratories also offer coatings. For example, Pech Optical Corp.’s Safari mirrors come standard with backside no-glare coating. And Nexus Vision’s NexTreme offers many colors to choose from.

mater­ial. The polycarbonate lenses have been tested to meet or exceed the rigorous impact standards set forth by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), including ANSI Z80.3 and ANSI Z87.1

Lenses from Maui Jim, Inc. are optically correct and feature patented lens technology that uses rare earth elements to enhance vision, eliminate glare, cut 100% of UV rays, and enhance color. The PolarizedPlus®2 Lens Tech­nology lets the world’s true colors shine through while filtering light and protecting the eye.

All Maui Jim lenses are constructed with up to nine layers of protection. At the outside of the back surface is a hydrophobic and oleophobic coating to repel water and greasy fingerprints and a backside anti-reflective treatment eliminates glare and reflected light from behind. A Clearshell® scratch-resistant coating is applied to polycarbonate and Maui Evolution® lens materials. Next is the distortion-free lens followed by a polarizing filter and another piece of lens material so the filter is contained betwee
n them. A Clearshell coating is used on the front surface to make it durable. A bi-gradient mirror coating is then applied to prevent glare and UV rays. The final layer on the front surface is another hydrophobic and oleophobic coating.

Maui Jim lenses are available in four color options: Neutral, HCL® Bronze, Maui Rose™, and Maui HT™ High Transmission.

The polycarbonate sunglass lenses are extremely light weight, impact resistant, and incorporate Clearshell technology.

According to the company, SuperThin (ST) Glass lenses are 20% lighter and thinner, coming in at 1.8mm versus 2.2mm. Ideal for driving and casualwear, these lenses offer superior optics and durability along with a scratch-resistant coating. The Maui Evolu­tion lenses incorporate the best properties of polycarbonate and SuperThin Glass.

High Definition Optics® (HDO) is the bedrock of Oakley, Inc.’s clarity and reliability. Oakley touts its HDO makes distortion disappear. No more seeing things that really aren’t there. No more blurry objects in the distance. With HDO, wearers will find rocks, flagsticks, and potholes where they are supposed to be. And HDO lenses exceed the ANSI clarity testing requirements.

Maui Jim’s college-branded Lighthouse Style features ­lenses constructed with up
to nine ­layers of protection.

Oakley HD Polarized lenses are produced using infusion molding. This creates one comprehensive, single-layered lens—no glue, sandwiching, or delamination. Oakley offers a spectrum of lens colors in both tinted and polarized options in full and gradient forms. Also look for Transitions® SOLFX™ photo­chromic lenses.

The lenses are finished off with an Oakley hydro­phobic coat­ing so moisture beads up and slides off the surface while skin oils, ­finger­prints, and lotions are easily wiped away. It’s also anti­static so dirt, dust, and other particles won’t cling to the lens.

All of Kaenon Polarized’s eyewear uses the company’s proprietary SR-91® polarized lens material that is so impact resistant it passes the ANSI Z87.1 High Impact Lens Test. All Kaenon lenses use Light Transmission Control technology, a combination of Kaenon’s proprietary Light Transmission Levels and the exclusive design of the lens tints. The tints and transmission levels combine to enhance visibility for any activity, weather condition, or time of day. Base colors include gray, copper, and yellow along with specific transmission levels. For example, the gray lens that doesn’t alter color perception is available in G12 and G28. The copper lens that enhances depth perception, detail, and color contrast comes in C12, C28, and C50. The yellow lens that enhances color contrast and detail definition is offered in Y35.

ImpactX™ Polarized Photo­chromic lenses from Rudy Project North America offer razor-sharp clarity, cut glare, and adjust to changing light conditions. The Polar 3FX lens combines advanced polycarbonate technology and processes with cutting-edge coatings to create lenses that, according the com­pany, ensure the complete and thorough elimination of glare, polarized light, and harmful UV rays while providing eye protection. Rudy Project asserts their unique light absorption and molecular properties enhance contrast and depth perception while maintaining color integrity and minimizing eye strain.

For particular light conditions, Rudy Project offers technically advanced specialty lenses with high visual quality tailored to individual needs through offerings like its Laser Series, AR-Laser Series, Racing Red, Action Brown, Golf 100 Green, and other lenses.

The big guys might get the limelight most of the time, but some smaller companies have some mighty big things to offer in sun lenses.

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

800-447-3700 •

Kaenon Polarized
866-KAENON-1 •

Maui Jim, Inc.
888-MAUI JIM •

Nexus Vision
866-492-6499 •

North American Coating Laboratories
866-216-6225 •

Oakley, Inc.
800-733-6255 •

Opticote, Inc.
800-248-6784 •

Pech Optical Corp.
800-831-2352 •

Rudy Project North America
888-860-7597 •


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