Your Guide To Sport Sunglass Lens Tints
The best tint for sport sunglasses depends on the environmental and lighting conditions you tend to experience during sports.
For example, the best sunglass tint for volleyball on a sunny day at the beach likely will be too dark for golfing on an overcast or partly cloudy day.
While this guide offers "tried-and-true" tint solutions recommended by many eye care professionals, don't be afraid to experiment with lens colors and densities. Sometimes the best tints for optimizing performance are a matter of personal preference.
Yellow or orange
Sports: cycling, hunting, shooting, skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, indoor basketball, handball, racquetball, tennis.
Amber, rose or red
Sports: cycling, fishing (amber lenses for sandy lake or stream beds), hunting, shooting, skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, water sports.
Dark amber, copper or brown
(Includes melanin lenses.)
Sports: baseball, cycling, fishing (especially in waters with grassy bottoms), golf, hunting, skiing, water sports.
Sports: baseball, golf.
Sports: all outdoor sports in bright light conditions.
Most optical shops have tint samples you can use to help you decide which colors are best for you. Try to evaluate the lenses in lighting conditions that match those you will experience most often during your sport.
If you participate in several sports or in a variety of lighting conditions, consider purchasing more than one pair of sport sunglasses, with different lens tints in each pair. Some sport sunglass frames have interchangeable lenses for a variety of lighting conditions.
Another option is sport frames with photochromic lenses. These light-sensitive lenses darken automatically in response to sunlight and are available in a variety of tint colors, including gray, brown and green.
No matter which type of sport sunglass lens tint or photochromic lenses you choose, consider having anti-reflective coating applied to the back surface of the lenses (or to both surfaces, in the case of photochromic lenses). AR coating eliminates the reflection of light from the back surface of tinted lenses when you are facing away from the sun, avoiding glare caused by these reflections.
About the Reviewer: Donald S. Teig, OD, has been a sports vision specialist for more than 25 years. Dr. Teig has helped athletes of all ages and has served as vision consultant to many professional sports teams, including the New York Yankees and the New York Knicks. He also has helped optimize the vision of pro golfers and tennis players.
Page updated August 2017