People usually have their lenses tinted if their eyes are particularly sensitive to bright light (photophobic). However, some people have tinted lenses because they prefer the cosmetic appearance – certain frame styles and colours can work well with an appropriately chosen tint colour. Some sports activities can also be enhanced by particular types of tint – for example clay pigeon shooters benefit from the contrast provided by a yellow tint.
The density and colour of tint required depends on the individual’s preference as well as the conditions in which the glasses are to be worn. For example, prescription sunglasses are usually very dark, whereas under fluorescent lighting or on a VDU screen they wouldn’t need the same level of density.
Some people prefer a graduated tint (lower picture) – dark at the top of the lens, fading gradually towards the bottom. This makes sense when you consider that most bright light sources emanate from above the wearer, and some wearers prefer the cosmetic appearance of graduated tints. However, graduated tints offer much less protection from light reflected up to the wearer from bright surfaces such as snow, water and even the white pages of a book or newspaper.
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