Tinted Lens: Significance and Indications - Eye Health Nepal

Tinted Lens: Significance and Indications

The Tinted lens is the colour lenses which we commonly have known as the cosmetic lens. Tints and coating used on spectacle lens serve a fashion purpose can make vision More comfortable, can improve visibility, contrast and can protect the eye from effects of harmful radiations.

Lenses that are used for the specific purpose of reducing the amount of transmitted light are known as absorptive lenses.

Absorptive Lenses can be categorized as :

  1. Tinted Lenses
  2. Polaroid lenses
  3. Photochromatic Lenses
  4. Special Filters
Ophthalmic Tinted Lens Sample
Image Source: Williams Harris Optical

Significance of Tinted Ophthalmic Lens:

  • To protect the eyes from glare and harmful radiations
  • Mainly protective and cosmetic purposes. (Protection / Clarity / Appearance)
  • Purposes vary as per variety of tints: solid glass tint, surface coated, dyed tints etc.
  • Transmit or block specific wavelength lights 
  • Absorb or block UV/Infrared lights 
  • Response to the ambient level of light 
  • Reduce Surface Reflections(If other coatings are done ) 
  • Enhance contrast

How the tinted lens made?

Plastic lenses are tinted by dipping them in a solution containing the appropriate organic dye. 
To manufacture these lens for glass, different oxides are mixed with glass material

Tinting process of ophthalmic lenses
Iamge: Techniques Chimiques Nouvelles


Why tinted ophthalmic lenses prescribed?

The tinted ophthalmic lenses are prescribed by eye care professionals for the following reasons. 

Luminous transmission factor
  • Light sensitivity
  • Contrast enhancement
  • Reducing migraines
  • Reading comfort and performance
  • Driving factors.
Ocular Conditions in which Tinted Ophthalmic Lenses are Prescribed
  • Age-related macular degeneration (ARMD)
  • Retinitis  Pigmentosa (RP)
  • Cataract
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Cone dystrophy 
  • Oculo-cutaneous albinism 
Tinted lens for albinism
Reducing glare effects by using Tinted Ophthalmic Lens on an Albinism Patient, Image Albinism Matters

Various Ophthalmic Tints and its element used

  • Pink- Cerium or Didimium or Manganese
  • Blue- Cobalt
  • Green-Ferrous oxide or Chromium
  • Brown-Nickel
  • Yellow- Uranium or Silver
  • Red- Gold
  • Grey
  • Orange 
  • Amber (Sulphur+Iron)
  • Violet
  • Fuchsia 

Prescribing Indications for Tinted Lens:

Grey Tint

  • Best all-around tint, not a true colour. 
  • Neutral density filter
  • Absorbs all colors of the spectrum equally
  • Ideal for people who do not want relativity of colors affected
  • Allows colors to be seen in their natural state relative to one another
  • Reduces the light intensities but not remove any particular wavelengths.

Selection of Grey Tints:

  • Light sensitive people  / Anti-Fatigue
  • Intolerant to color distortion
  • Night Drivers
  • Cool sunglass color
  • Indoor use to reduce glare from fluorescent lamps, visual display screen and television screen
  • Limitation- not best contrast-enhancing colour, the slight reduction in visual acuity.

Pink Tint


Pink tinted prescription glasses
  • Is an example of unsaturated red
  • Mainly given to attenuate the light in a pleasing way
  • Sweetest color especially for women
  • Cosmetically better as it blends well with the skin tones

Selection of Pink Tints:

  • For low light-sensitive individuals
  • Good eye cosmesis
  • Color of choice in neurological problems(eg Migraine)
  • Appreciated for indoor use
  • Computer user, TV etc.
  • Limitation- poor UV absorption, not suitable for outdoor use

Blue Tint

  • Transmit more dangerous high energy part of the spectrum(blue and UV)
  • Absorbs light into the yellow-orange wavelengths
  • Good for light-sensitive individuals
  • A light scattering of blue light will cost more than relief they get from the elimination of peak sensitivity wavelength of yellow and orange.

Indication of Blue Tints

  • Indoor tints for eye cosmesis
  • Watching computer, TV, overhead projector etc
  • Prescription for foundry work, furnace, smelters, boiler tender etc
  • For light-sensitive individuals
  • Blue eyes and fair-skinned youngsters with large pupils and reading difficulties.
  • This tint is trendy and aesthetically pleasing as well which enhances color perception. 
  • Limitation of Blue tints- older individuals with media opacities( scattering effect)
  • Not good UV and IR filter(welding application)
  • Contraindicated for outdoor use.

Brown Tint

  • Pleasing warm cosmetic colour
  • Absorbs more blue light scattered by the atmosphere
  • Transmission is controlled with high peaks in the blue, green and red region
  • Offers better contrast than green or grey
  • Good general purpose filter reducing glare and UV absorption.

Indication of Brown Tint Lens:

  • Good sun protection
  • Ideal tint for daytime driving
  • A better option in the hazy condition
  • Limitation of Brown tint-  tends to distort color a little more than other tints.
  • It evenly transmits the whole visible spectrum thus allowing color to be perceived in a neutral state which also improves depth perception. 

Green Tint

  • Focus in the area of the eye with the greatest sensitivity to color in daylight
  • Transmits the brilliant green, yellow, orange and red while absorbs blue and violet region
  • Good sunglass tint with enhanced contras
  • Good intermediate filter to use when grey or yellow does not seem right.

Indication of Green Tints:

  • Sunglass color in tropical climates
  • Filters UV as well as IR radiations
  • Real protection in bright sunlight
  • Enhancing contrast and true color perception

Orange Tint

  • The essence of brown tint
  • Reduces the transmission of blue and green wavelengths
  • Increase in contrast
  • Ideal support for cycling, mountain tours, skiing etc. 

Red Tint

  • Allows excellent depth perception in low light
  • Strongly blocks the transmission of blue and green wavelengths with sharp contrast
  • Indication- good for cycling/racing, hunting and skiing, can be helpful for hue discrimination in color deficiency.
  • Red tint for protanopes and green for deuteranopes.

Amber Tint

  • Colour varies from very light straw to deep reddish-brown
  • Improves night vision with light-enhancing effect
  • Improves VA and depth perception
  • Reduces the glare from front headlights

Yellow Tint

  • Absorbs Blue, Violet and UV light (low wavelength)
  • Designed as contrast filters
  • Concentrates light in the area of spectrum to which the eye is most sensitive
  • Better for light insensitive individual

Indication of Yellow Tint Lens

  • Pick up the contrast in hazy conditions, eg snow, cloudy and foggy weather
  • For shooters and hunters to enhance target definition
  • Limitation- distorts color perception.

Violet Tint

  • The least chosen tint of all
  • It is photoactive as ultraviolet
  • Can irritate eyes  
  • Can cause eye damage.

Light sensitivity and Selection of tints:

Individuals with light sensitivity

  • Choose Grey, Blue or Green tints
  • Reject orange and yellow

Contrast enhancement tints

  • Red, Orange, Yellow, Green and Brown
  • Tend to allow the transmission of light that is the same as the color of the filter
  • Suppress other color
  • Absorbs Blue and UV which give background haze.

Tinted Ophthalmic Lenses for Migraine 

Patients are hypersensitive to the visual stimuli. Color filter can reduce the symptoms in Migraine patients.

  • Pink or Blue tints- the past experience of migraine 
  • Less frequently after 1 month of wearing
Migraine and tinted lens infographics
Image Google: By TheraSpecs

Reading comfort and performance

  • It filters out certain light frequencies
  • Blue tint lens can help for reading in learning disabilities
  • Increase the rate of reading and maintain good fixations

Driving and selection of tints

  • Must not be too dark
  • May reduce VA
  • Brown tint is ideal for drivers for daytime
  • Night driving lenses-Yellow or Amber tints with ARC 
  • Improves contrast and reduces glare.
  • Graduated tint beneficial(dark at the top).
Before and After tinted lens for driving

Conditions for selecting tints

If all colors are chosen (no color preference)
Prescribe Brown tints which provides UV protection with contrast enhancement

If all colors are rejected
Prescribe neutral grey tints which have least color distortion with cool sunglass effect.

Indication of Tinted Lens By Profession

Tennis, Shooting, Skiing: YELLOW
Driving, Cycling, Skating: BROWN
Swimming, Scuba diving: BLUE 
Cricket: ORANGE / RED
Golf: GREEN

We can also use Tinted lens sunglasses, Always consult with your eye care service providers and get advice from them about which of above mentioned color suit for you according to your overall eye health conditions.

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