Tinted, polarized and photochromic – what’s the difference?



Tinted. Polarized. Photochromic. Most of us don’t really know the difference, we just want what’s best for our eyes. If you’re an athlete who often trains outdoors, having lenses that can quickly transition from light to dark and back again in the changing light conditions is almost essential. Squinting into the horizon isn’t only bothersome, it can be dangerous if you’re in an urban area where you’re likely running or cycling along traffic-riddled roads.


The easiest way to figure out what you need is to get a clear definition of the terms.


Tinted lenses
Coloured lenses are just that. They are usually tinted in a particular colour and work by letting through only light of a certain colour – the colour of the lens – and blocking out the rest. So the result is that the image you see is tinted. They’re effective, but really only to a certain degree, and don’t offer the best protection for your eyes.


Polarized lenses
Then there’s polarized lenses. The main benefit is that they reduce glare, which normal tinted sunglasses are unable to do. This is done by means of a chemical filter applied either directly to or embedded in the material of the lens. It reduces glare by absorbing incoming horizontal light while still allowing vertical light in. Glare is usually the result of horizontal light reflected off a surface (which is why it’s so terrible when you look directly at water or snow in the sunlight). So polarized lenses work almost like blinds – absorbing horizontal light while letting in vertical light.



Photochromic lenses

Photochromic lenses work by reacting to UV light. Back in the 1960’s when this technology was first discovered, lenses contained tiny silver-based crystals that clumped together when light fell on them. These days, technology is far more advanced, and today’s photochromic lenses most likely contain organic, carbon-based molecules called naphthopyrans that change their molecular structure when ultraviolet light hits them, blocking light from entering.


Rudy Project’s ImpactX™ lenses offer not only superior photochromic performance, but are also guaranteed unbreakable for life. The molecular semi-rigid properties are developed exclusively for Rudy Project and ensure the physical protection of your eyes against impact, chemical and athmospheric agents; but because they are semi-rigid they will also minimise injuries during impact or fall. Unlike most photochromic standard lenses, ImpactX® lenses are fused in the mass of the polymer itself through a complex manufacturing process, making them more resistant and clearly optically superior to most competitors.


Click on the link to view Rudy Project’s Impact X2 options and what each lens does. ImpactX2_options


Take a look at just how quickly Rudy Project photochromic lenses change colour: