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Are color enhancing sunglasses worth it?

Sunglasses that enhance color may seem like a fun novelty, but are they actually worth the higher price tag? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll examine the pros and cons of color enhancing shades to help you decide if they are worth investing in.

What are Color Enhancing Sunglasses?

Also known as color tint sunglasses or color enhanced lenses, these sunglasses have special filters that intensify and boost certain colors while muting others. This enhances contrast and color vibrancy, allowing you to see the world through a more vivid, saturated lens.

There are a few different types of color enhancing lenses:

  • Blue/violet lenses intensify blues and greens while muting reds and browns. This can make skies, water, and greenery really stand out.
  • Amber/brown lenses enhance warmer earth tones like reds, oranges, and browns while downplaying cool blues and greens. These lenses can make fall foliage pop.
  • Gray/green lenses provide a luminous enhancement that brightens the whole color spectrum. They offer a subtle color boost instead of dramatically altering color perception.

Color enhancing lenses work by allowing certain light wavelengths to pass through while blocking or filtering out others. This selective transmission of light creates an altered color balance and perception.

The Pros of Color Enhancing Sunglasses

There are some advantages that color tint sunglasses can provide:

Enhanced Contrast and Visual Acuity

By making certain colors more vibrant, color enhancing lenses create greater contrast between objects. This can improve depth perception and visual acuity. Studies have found that amber and brown lenses that enhance contrast can significantly improve sports performance by allowing athletes to see more visual details.

Increased Color Saturation

If you want to make the world look more vivid and saturated, color enhancing lenses will dramatize and intensify hues. Everything from blue skies to green trees will be crisper, deeper, and more dynamic.

Fun and Stylish

Color tint sunglasses offer a fun way to alter your visual perspective and see the world through a stylishly tinted lens. The different lens hues can compliment your outfit or mood.

Reduce Eye Strain

Some amber and brown color enhancing lenses can help block high energy blue light that causes eye fatigue. By reducing eye strain, color tint sunglasses can enhance comfort when driving long distances or when using digital screens.

The Cons of Color Enhancing Sunglasses

There are also some downsides to consider with color enhancing sunglasses:

Distorted Color Perception

While color tint lenses may create a fun, artistic effect, they do artificially distort natural color balance. This altered color perception could impair your ability to accurately discern colors. Specific hues related to traffic lights or signage may be muted or changed.

Compromised Clarity

Certain types of color enhancing lenses can compromise visual clarity even though contrast is increased. Some amber and violet lenses may cause haziness, haze, or even double vision.

Not Ideal for Driving

Since color enhancing sunglasses can inhibit your ability to accurately perceive all colors, especially red and green, they are not recommended for driving. The altered color balance could potentially pose safety hazards.

More Expensive

Color tint lenses are typically more expensive than traditional gray or black polarized lenses. You’ll be paying more for the color enhancing feature.

Product Comparison

Here is a comparison of some top color enhancing sunglass models on the market:

Brand Model Lens Color Price
Maui Jim Peahi Gray/green $229
Costa Del Mar Blackfin Amber/copper $169
Oakley Sliver F Violet/purple $176
Ray-Ban Chromance Red mirror $203

As you can see, color enhancing sunglasses range from about $150 to over $200, making them a pricier investment than regular sunglasses.

Recommendations for Use

Here are some tips on when and how to wear color tint sunglasses:

  • Outdoors recreation – They work great for activities like hiking, fishing, boating, and beach days when you want better contrast and color enhancement.
  • Bright and sunny conditions – The lenses show their full effect when there is plenty of sunlight to filter and alter.
  • Not while driving – Avoid wearing them when you need accurate color perception and clarity.
  • Photography/cinematography – The color boosting effect can add artistry to your shots and footage.
  • Try different hues – Test out the subtle differences between amber, gray, green, and violet tints.
  • Compare lens brands – More premium lenses like Maui Jim tend to have better clarity while enhancing color.

The Bottom Line

Color enhancing sunglasses certainly add visual interest and a fun artistic element to your sunglass style. However, the color distortion means they are best for recreational use rather than practical everyday use. The color boosting technology does come at a premium price point as well. Overall, color tint sunglasses can be worth it if you value their stylish appearance and subtle color filtering effect for outdoor activities, but don’t expect major visual enhancement or lens performance on par with top polarized options.

If you want sunglasses primarily for driving, sports performance, and visual clarity, traditional gray and brown polarized lenses likely make more sense. But if you have the budget and want to change up your sunglass style with a cool color pop, color enhancing shades can be a fun accessory choice.