Using our exclusive Direct Lens Technology we craft a variety of custom Rx lenses to suit different conditions, uses, and personal preferences. We are happy to consult you on what choice of lenses will work the best for your purposes if you are not sure what you’d like.
*Please note that all light blockage numbers are estimates. They will vary slightly by individual Rx lenses and brands.
Polarized Sunglass Lenses:
Polarization is a filter that is embedded into the lens material. Its main purpose is to block glare from bright and distracting reflections. Reflections may come from water, asphalt, snow, or any other shiny surfaces. It also helps to reduce eye strain and fatigue. Below is a photo showing the benefit of a polarized lens cutting out the glare reflecting off a shiny blue car dashboard and windshield.
Polarized lenses are recommended for most athletes and activities including but not limited to: cycling, running, hiking, golf, tennis, skiing, water sports, shooting, and driving. Polarization is not recommended for extreme, icy conditions. It is precisely that glare which will let you know where the ice is. Polarized lenses can also interfere with the visibility of electronic screens to varying degrees. For instance airplane pilots who heavily rely on their electronic displays for navigation usually prefer non-polarized sunglasses for this reason. Usually this effect is minimal and for most people the benefits of polarized lenses far outweigh this potential downside.
- Gray – The polarization blocks glare and has 85% light blockage. The neutral gray tint blocks light without modifying color allowing you to view your environment as it is. This lens is our most popular and suits most people the best for their sunglasses needs.
- Super dark gray – Polarized gray saturated with extra gray tint. Brings the standard polarized gray up to 90% light blockage. This lens is for those of you who are light sensitive or just like their shades nice and dark.
- Super super dark gray – We take the super dark gray and throw a silver solid mirror on top of it. Blocks 96%+ of the light. Only for extreme bright conditions such as high altitude adventures in the snow or very light sensitive people. Not to be used for driving.
- Brown – Brown is a great all around, variable conditions sunglass lens. High contrast for better depth perception in bright light, yet light enough to wear when cloudy conditions arise. Has 80% light blockage.
- Rose Copper – Slightly lighter than the polarized brown with a hint of red. Newest lens color, people are loving it! Has 75% light blockage.
- Gray-green – Another polarized lens option that gives more contrast than gray. Originally developed for pilots in WWII for glare reduction. Color is similar to classic Ray-Bans. Has 80% light blockage.
Transitions / Photochromics:
Transitions and photochromic lenses are auto darkening lenses that are made with a special UV triggered material. Lot of folks want just one lens for all conditions and these lenses do a darn good job of that. Please note that all Transitions and photochromic lenses will take a minute or two to fully adjust darkness to your environment. For instance if you are riding your bike under a bridge or tunnel, Transitions will not clear up in time to adjust to the bridge / tunnel darkness, but neither will your regular sunglasses of course. If instantaneous low light visibility is of critical importance then a clear or light tinted lens would be a better choice than Transitions. Transitions lenses are also UV triggered, not overall brightness triggered. Cloudy days can still have a relatively high UV index, especially at higher altitude, which means that some people find Transitions to be a bit darker than ideal in those situations.
- Transitions Signature – These are your classic Transitions lenses. They go from all the way clear to about 75% light blockage which is a moderate darkness sunglass lens. These are ideal if you need maximum visibility indoors or in low light, but you also want protection outside in the sun. These lenses will remain almost completely clear behind a car windshield (due to windshield blocking most UV rays) and are not recommended if you want sunglasses for driving. These are not polarized and therefore not recommended for activities where glare reduction is important such as water sports.
- Transitions XtrActive – These are the Transitions that work the best for the most people. They go from almost all the way clear to a solidly dark sunglass lens and range from 15% to 85% light blockage. The clearest state only has a very subtle tint and is clear enough to be used indoors or at night while the darkest state is plenty dark enough for most people. While not intended to be driving sunglasses, the XtrActive will darken partway behind a windshield and give you more darkness than the Signature. These lenses are not polarized and not recommended when glare reduction is important such as water sports.
- NEW!!! Transitions XtrActive Polarized – These are the latest development from Transitions and the ultimate all-in-one lens! They go from almost all the way clear and non-polarized to a solidly dark and fully polarized sunglass lens and range from 15% to 85% light blockage and 0% to 90% polarization. The clearest state only has a very subtle tint and is clear enough to be used indoors or at night while the darkest state is plenty dark enough for most people and cuts glare with the polarization. While not great for driving sunglasses, they typically darken and polarize slightly behind a windshield.
- Transitions Drivewear – This is a polarized Transition lens specifically designed to fully darken behind your car windshield. It changes from a greenish/yellow in low light to a bright reddish brown in direct sunlight. They vary between 40% and 80% light blockage. It’s a great lens for variable daytime conditions and driving during the day. The clearest state is too dark for safe night driving however. The polarization makes it a great lens choice for water sports or other situations where glare reduction is important.
Lightest state / Partway dark on an overcast day / Fully dark on a sunny day
- Transitions Infinite Gray – This is Transition’s latest polarized lens and is their darkest. The Infinite Gray is a good option if you want a variable darkness Transitions lens that is fully polarized and is able to turn nice and dark. Ranging from 65% to 91% light blockage, these lenses work in variable daytime conditions quite nicely and are polarized to block glare. Unlike the Drivewear these lenses are not designed to fully darken behind your car windshield and will remain a mild darkness in the car. These are also too dark to be used extensively at night, indoors, or in low light conditions. The polarization makes it a great lens choice for water sports or other situations where glare reduction is important.
Darkest state vs clearest state
- Photochromic lined bifocals: While Transitions brand lenses are available only in single vision and progressive lenses, photochromic lined bifocals are available with a different type of photochromic technology. The photochromic bifocals function similarly to the Transitions Signature and go from clear to a moderate sunglass tint at 70% light blockage. These lenses will not darken behind the car windshield and are also not polarized, but a great option if you want the flexibility of photochromics with a lined bifocal.
Clearest state vs darkest state
Lenses can be tinted almost any color, and most tints are based on personal preference. Listed are examples of our most popular tint colors and the light conditions for which they are best suited. Mirrors to cut glare and add a “look” can be added to any tint color, and anti-reflective coatings can be added for clarity in low light conditions. Please feel free to contact us regarding these options.
- Clear -This is a standard clear lens. Has 8% light blockage. Anti-reflective coating can be added for 1% light blockage. The AR coating will be great for driving, night cycling and any other darker activity especially with surrounding lights.
- Yellow – Classic high-contrast yellow lens. Has 20% light blockage. Adding anti-reflective coating will make it better for night driving and shooting. It will highlight the shadows and cut glare from the residual lights. AR yellow will have 12% light blockage.
- Rose – General “pink” lens. Good for medium to low light, but too dark for night. Has 25% light blockage.
- Orange – General “orange” lens. Good for medium to low light. High contrast in certain conditions. Has 45% light blockage.
- “All around” Red– A great all around lens. One of our most popular. It cuts glare in the sun while giving good depth perception & contrast of field in the shadows and low light. Our best selling non-polarized lens. Looks GREAT with a blue mirror. Has 60% light blockage.
- Brown – Bright light high contrast lens. Has 70% light blockage.
- Grey – Basic grey lens. Can be made as dark or as light as you would like, up to about 75% light blockage.
We can apply a mirror of almost any color to our lenses. Mirrors come in two flavors: solid and flash. Solid mirrors have an opaque look and add 5-10% light blockage. Solid mirrors look and work great on any darker sunglass lens. Solid mirrors are recommended for high altitude use as they reflect infrared light which is more prevalent at higher elevations, contributing to eye fatigue and potential eye damage. Solid mirrors are not recommended for clear, light tinted, or Transitions lenses that go clear because the backside of the mirror can throw distracting reflections back at your eye and decrease clarity of the lens. Flash mirrors don’t block much light and are mostly transparent, but they add a more subtle colored reflection to the lens and help cut glare. If you’d like a mirror on lighter tinted lenses or Transitions, then the flash mirrors are the way to go. Flash mirrors will also work great on darker lenses and add nice style without being too flashy looking.
For many athletes, we suggest they consider the wear their lenses will endure, because mirrors will show scratches more visibly than non-mirrored lenses, as well as potentially react with the sweat produced during sports. However they do add killer style and are proven to make you faster!
Solid Mirrors vs Flash Mirrors
Here are some of our personal favorite lens / mirror combos!
Transitions XtrActive with a blue flash mirror:
Polarized gray with a silver solid mirror:
Polarized rose-copper with a pink solid mirror:
Polarized brown with a blue solid mirror:
- Anti-reflective (AR) coating: Anti-reflective coating is highly recommended for lighter lenses, such as clear, yellow, and the Transitions that go all the way clear. The AR coating will make the most difference for night time and indoor use, and will noticeably cut glare, halo spots and refection from surrounding sources of light. Below you can see the difference that AR makes. The center of the lens has AR and the outside does not. Taken indoors under our showroom lights, you can see how the AR greatly reduces the interference of reflections from lights and vastly improves the clarity of the lens.
- Blue light blocking anti-reflective coating: In today’s digital world lots of time is spent in front of a phone / computer screen. Digital screens emit a significant amount of eye strain inducing blue light. Blue light has also been shown to influence melatonin production which in turn regulates you sleep schedule. Screen time late in the evening can make it harder to fall asleep and get quality sleep. There is also evidence that suggests that overexposure to blue light might increase the risk of macular degeneration. Clinical studies aside, we can all probably relate to spending too much time looking at a screen and feeling that eye strain and lack of focus. The good news is that a specialized anti-reflective coating is available which is designed specifically to reject harmful blue light and it is very effective at reducing eye strain from digital screens. As a result of the blue light being reflected, clear lenses will have a slight yellow/brown tint to them, just something to be aware of if you are considering this coating. You can see this in the photo below.
- Anti scratch coating: Anti-scratch coat comes included and standard with all of our lenses, but if you are notoriously hard on your glasses we can optionally upgrade your lenses with a double layer of the coating for twice the scratch resistance power in addition to a 2 year, 1 time, scratch replacement warranty. Please note that the scratch coats are designed to prevent micro scratching from normal everyday use and cleaning. If your glasses skid against the pavement or get gouged with a screwdriver, they will scratch.
- Ultraviolent (UV) protection: All of our sport and sunglass lenses absorb 98%+ of the UV light for ample eye protection and health.
- Anti-fog: Fogging is mostly a function of your environment’s temperature / humidity, your body heat / moisture, and how close your glasses fit to your face. If you fog easily in glasses then the best solution is a more open frame that will provide better ventilation. However a hydrophobic coating can also be added to your lenses to both help water bead off the lens in wet conditions and also to increase the evaporation rate of any fog that may build up.
Glass Blowing Lenses:
Working with glass? We also make glasses with custom blue tinted and gold mirrored lenses that cut out sodium flare, UV, and IR so you can see the glass you are working on and give your eyes a much needed break as well! Non prescription glasses start at $199 and prescription glasses with the tinted lenses in a flip up piece start at $389. Give us a call at 303-455-3369 or stop by our store to order.
These Julbo mountaineering glasses are an excellent combination with the glass blowing lenses providing excellent coverage and wrap, but other frames are also available.
For prescription wearers the best setup is a pair of glasses with a flip up sunglass piece so you have a clear prescription lens to look through when the flame is off and then the tinted glass blowing lenses to easily flip down when the flame is on. These Metronome frames do the job perfectly with great style, but other flip up frames are also available.
These classic metal frames are also an excellent option.
The glass blowing lenses provide about 79% total visible light blockage and 98%+ UV blockage. The light transmittance curve before the addition of the gold mirror is shown below. We added a gold solid mirror for even greater sodium flare reduction and infrared light reflection.