Without a doubt, tinted lenses can add a fashionable look to any eyewear. However, tints may also provide greater clarity, contrast and even therapeutic relief for wearers.

When optician Sally Fokas of Testa Opticians in Upper Montclair, NJ, had a patient come in who wanted sunglasses for driving, outdoor activities and golf, she recommended a green tinted lens.

Fokas said green lenses provide greater contrast to be able to clearly see the white golf ball against a blue sky.
“Colors can either enhance vision or hinder vision,” she explained. “We do recommend tints and for most people we recommend polarized sunglasses, but sometimes the patient doesn’t want polarized or may want a fashion tint, so we make a prescription gradient tinted sunglass lens.”

Fokas always discusses tints with patients who come in looking for sunglasses and asks them what activities they will wear them for. Top colors at Testa Opticians are gray, brown, G-15, yellow, rose and blue. They usually have six colors on hand with two extra pans to switch colors. Fokas uses tints from Brain Power, Inc. and a four-tray tint machine from Hilco Vision. Fokas said they order uncoated or tintable lenses — either stock or surfaced — so she can “tint almost anything, at any time.”

Brain Power, Inc. supplies numerous tints that, according to the company, relieve a myriad of symptoms. In addition to BPI’s blue light filtering tints Blue Filter Vision 450, available in saturated yellow, and Blue Filter Vision 480, available in brown, BPI Total Day is a tan-colored tint that provides blue/violet attenuation with little color distortion for patients with macular degeneration. BPI FL-41 is a rust red/pink tint that reduces migraines, eye strain and blepharospasms, according to the company.

Phantom Research Laboratories, Inc. also has various tints. Its OptiSafe dye colors, including Corning CPF Blue Blocker, can be mixed to create an “unlimited number of colors and shades,” according to the company. Phantom’s lens dye packets create consistent colors with a molecular composition that enables rapid penetration of the lens matrix, bonding to the lens and resistance to fading. OptiSafe lens dyes are safe for use on CR-39 (uncoated and coated), high-index and polycarbonate lenses.

The Automatic Lens Tinting Machine Model 95 from Phantom Research Laboratories was developed for both solid and gradient tinting. This free-standing machine is easy to set up and use, according to the company, and features a versatile arm that rotates 360° and accommodates up to four pairs of lenses at one time. The Automatic Lens Tinting Machine continuously agitates the dye solution and automatically removes lenses from the dye after tinting. The company’s Color Matching Unit simulates daylight conditions to accurately color match lenses and verify shade consistency, and it also allows for easy inspection of lenses for spotting and blotching.
BPI’s Solar Color 6 tinting machine holds six, 1-quart tanks, and each quart tank can be replaced with two mini tanks if extra color capacity is required. Made of 100% stainless steel, the Solar Color 6 has a chassis lined with insulation for heat retention.

Hilco Vision’s tinting machine doesn’t contain a heating element in the pan, which eliminates any possibility of leaks and greatly increases the life of the element, according to the company. It also allows the use of water as an alternative to expensive heat transfer fluid. The tinting system comes with nine, 1-quart pans that are 100% grade 304 stainless steel.

Nirtech lenses from Monarch Eyewear significantly reduce the amount of infrared radiation from entering eyes with an extra 35% to 40% overall protection from UV, harmful blue light and infrared radiation, according to the company. Lenses are available as polarized or as non-polarized. Nirtech lenses provide sharper contrast, reduce eye strain and headaches, as well as prevent dry eyes. Nirtech lenses are available in polycarbonate, mineral glass, nylon, CR-39 and high clarity polyurethane materials. Non-prescriptions lenses are currently available, with Rx lenses launching in the beginning of 2019.

Nirtech lenses come in a variety of colors and mirrors that are suitable for various activities, including polarized chartreuse (ideal for heightened contrast and depth perception for lowlight, foggy conditions); polarized amber green mirror (for shallow-water fishing in full sun); polarized gray silver mirror (suitable for everyday activities on both water and land, which supports long hours of use without eye fatigue); and polarized copper and copper gold mirror (soft colors that provide ultimate contrast in most lighting conditions, ideal for cycling, multi-sport activities and extreme conditions).

Platinum Glass lenses from Barberini Eyewear provide maximum protection from infrared heat, reflected light and UV rays up to 400nm (UV400), according to the company. A study the company conducted in conjunction with the Fondazione Banca Degli Occhi in Italy found the lenses help to prevent premature aging of tissues and alleviate symptoms of dry eye.

As for polarized lenses, Fokas said there’s a much greater variety today than ever before.

“KBco has gradient polarized lenses that give a fashion tint but polarized for added filtering,” she said. “We also use the Essilor colors; they have advanced colors other than the standard gray, brown or green, such as grape, plum, emerald and sienna brown. Maui Jim’s polarized colors offer excellent visual enhancement, and we also recommend Costa because of the company’s mix of polarized lenses and mirrored tints for added filtering and protection. We also like Revo’s polarized lenses.”

Maui Jim’s Polarized Plus2 lens technology eliminates 99.9% of glare, which can wash out colors, obscure details and cause eye fatigue, according to the company. PolarizedPlus2 is available in sic colors (maui rose, neutral gray, maui HT, blue hawaii, mauigreen and HCL bronze), plus MauiGradient fashion lens mirrors, dual mirrors and Bi-Gradient Mirrors, which reduce the brightest light from above and below to allow eyes to relax.

Costa’s 580 polarized lenses filter harsh yellow light at 580nm, which causes color distortion, and enhances reds, blues and greens for sharper contrast and higher definition. Available in a variety of environment-specific tints, 580 lenses also absorb harmful shortwave high-energy visible blue light to offer protection from cataracts, macular degeneration and other eye conditions. For boating and fishing, blue mirrors have a 10% light transmission, making them ideal for vision in open reflective water. Gray silver mirror lenses are optimal for everyday wear as well as overcast days while reducing glare and fatigue, while mirrors in the sunrise silver tint are good for extended-wear in lowlight conditions and activities during sunrise and sunset.

NuPolar Mirrors polarized lenses are now available from Younger Optics and come in three mirrors: silver, blue and gold. These Rxable lenses come in both single vision and digital progressive designs. NuPolar Mirrors are currently available in SFSV hard resin and will be available in SFSV polycarbonate by the end of this year.

Oakley’s OO Red Iridium Polarized lenses reduce glare from pavement, easing eye strain and fatigue. Glare-free vision for cyclists and runners allows them to spot cracks and holes on roads due to improved depth perception and visual contrast. This moderate-contrast, rose-base lens has a mirror finish suitable for medium to bright light. Red Iridium eliminates 85% of ambient light and blocks 100% of UVA, UVB and UVC light. The company’s Prizm technology enhances details and maximizes vision in virtually any environment for any activity. Prizm Everyday lenses, available in six colors ranging from ruby to jade, “bring dull and flat colors to life,” according to Oakley. For sports enthusiasts, Prizm Sport lenses cater to different environments and include such sport-specific lenses as Prizm Golf, Prizm Snow Sun, Prizm Deep Water, Prizm Field and even Prizm Cricket. Some Everyday and Sport lenses are also available in Oakley Authentic Prescription Lenses.

Brain Power, Inc. 800.225.5274
Barberini Eyewear
Costa 800.447.3700
Hilco Vision 800.955.6544
Maui Jim 888.666.5905
Monarch Eyewear/Nirtech 909.923.0899
Oakley 800.733.6255
Phantom Research Laboratories, Inc. 800.225.5559
Revo/ ClearVision Optical Co. 800.645.3733
Younger Optics 800.366.5367


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