Vintage sunglasses can be found in a wide variety of colors and lens tints, and selecting the right lens colors based upon your lifestyle and environment is important to maximize performance and your enjoyment wearing great vintage designer sunglasses. While not meant to be definitive nor absolute, the staff of Vintage Designer Sunglasses has compiled a few color hints to help you decide on the best lens colors for you. Sunglasses are perhaps most associated with consistently colored lenses in many different hues. In this regard, different color lenses have different optical properties and associated strengths and weaknesses which can be adopted to fit individual needs.
- Brown & Amber: Reduces glare and improves contrast and visibility by selectively filtering blue light. Great for driving, golfing, water and snow sports.
- Green & Gray: General purpose tint reduces glare while maintaining natural colors.
- Yellow & Rose: Enhances contrast and definition, especially in lower light conditions.
In addition to photochromatic sunglass lenses which literally darken or lighten for varying light conditions, another option to colored lenses is a more subtle color tint which remains constant at all times. Tints are available on plastic as well as glass lenses and can be had in almost any color of the rainbow. Lighter, fashion tints are used primarily for cosmetic purposes to enhance a wearer's looks, while darker tints allow the wearer to use the lenses as effective sunglasses. Typically, fashion tints are applied in light pink, brown, or gray while sunglasses are usually gray or brown. A tint can be solid, when the entire lens is the same color, or gradient, which is a gradual fade from dark to light and usually fading from the top down.
Other colors are applied to lenses for different purposes. Yellow, sometimes referred to as a "blue-blocker" because the color keeps blue light from entering the lens, is often the color of choice for target shooters because it decreases haze and makes objects appear sharper, with more contrast. The most famous yellow lens in the world is the Bausch & Lomb (B&L) Ray-Ban Kalichrome lens, and Vintage Designer Sunglasses sells more rare and authentic vintage Ray-Ban Kalichrome shooter sunglasses than any other retailer in the world. Unlike UV light, blue light is visible to us and is what makes the sky, or any object, appear blue. Blue light waves are also very short and scatter easily, so a great deal of the glare we experience from sunlight also comes from blue light. The color that blocks blue is yellow, so blue blockers must contain a yellow tint which can include dark, amber and plum/purple lenses to provide yellow tint in regular sunglasses. Green, such as the B&L Ray-Ban G-15 lens, is often used as a sunglass and along with brown and gray are the most popular sun shades. Red can be a very uncomfortable color to look through, though it does have applications for certain ocular pathologies. However, some people enjoy seeing the world through "rose-colored glasses."
Tints are applied to plastic lens materials such as optyl through a process of absorption. The lenses are immersed into a warm color bath, and depending on the length of time they sit in the tank emerge in varying shades of darkness. A lens that requires only a light tint will go into the bath for just a few minutes, while a lens that is meant to be sunglass-dark will remain in for quite some time. Advanced optyl plastic lenses are light and easily colored, and Carrera Porsche Design lenses c 1980s are some of the most popular and innovative high performance plastic lenses ever produced. Glass lenses can be manufactured with the color distributed throughout the lens material, or a tint is applied as a coating in a vacuum chamber after fabrication.
In addition to selecting the right lens colors and tints, the fit of your fine vintage sunglasses is also important. Learn how to measure sunglasses and eyeglasses frames and what the numbers on the ear stems mean with our guide to Measuring Sunglasses & Eyeglasses Frames.
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