Selecting the right lens tint can improve depth perception, reduce eye fatigue, minimise colour distortion, maximise visual clarity and improve vision in low light conditions.
With a massive range of different lenses to choose from though, how do you know what one to go with?
Grey lenses are designed to block the sun’s brightest rays without altering your perception of colour. They simply give you a darker version of what you would normally see.
Most people prefer grey lenses for days with intense sunlight but, when it comes to riding in low light conditions like forests, they’re unlikely to be much use.
The primary mission of coloured lenses is to reduce blue light. The problem with blue light is it scatters more easily than other types of visible light so we have more trouble focusing on it. This effect is at it’s worst in environments where blue light is prevalent eg aquatic and snowy environments.
If we can reduce the amount of blue light reaching our eyes, we can see with greater accuracy but, to reduce the blue light, coloured lenses will distort our perception of colours.
Brown lenses act similarly to grey lenses but block a larger percentage of light.
As a result of the above, they are good in moderate to bright conditions.
They are particularly effective where distances need to be judged and hence provide a good option for mountain bikers.
Probably the most common coloured lens.
They excel in moderate to low level light conditions, providing excellent depth perception and increasing contrast in hazy, foggy or overcast low light conditions including evening/night.
Rose or Vermillion
These give excellent low light visibility, particularly in forested areas and, as such, are generally a good choice for mountain bikers.
The downside to these are they cause severe colour distortion and thus can’t be used for driving.
Copper, Amber or Bronze
These are ideal for variable light conditions because the contrast created by the lens heightens visibility.
They block nearly all blue light thus giving excellent depth perception.
They aren’t suitable for driving because of the level of colour distortion they cause but enhance the soft greys that mark shadows on snowy slopes so can help identify ridges and bumps in the surface if you’re riding in these conditions
Blue lenses cause severe colour distortion and thus aren’t suitable for driving but are used by many skiers and snowboarders. As such, if you’re riding in snow, they may be of use.
Manufacturers often recommend lenses with a blue mirror to divert the blue light and then a copper base tint to enhance contrast and augment details.
Ultimately, the experts insist there is no right or wrong decision when it comes to coloured lenses as, when it comes to our vision, we (literally) all see things differently. Finding out what works best for you is a matter of experimenting.
If you’re going to take the time to practice, practice like the elite.