Hi, my name is George and I work as a Mobile Outreach Lead at Cam Sight, a local sight loss charity in Cambridgeshire.

I’m responsible for demonstrating and giving advice about equipment that is specially designed for people with low vision and blindness, accreditated by Associated Optical.

I’m 28 and have been severely sight impaired since birth. I have only just found the best combination of tints and shades for myself through my work, I have a pair of prescription grey transitions for outside and a pair of lightly tinted yellow prescriptions for inside where I use them for watching television and playing video games.

George’s Top Tips

Top Tips
Try everything on! Compare them and at least you will know if something doesn’t help you
Multiple tints of shades, It’s okay to have more than one tint or shade! Different types can help with different tasks.
Comfort and Style! You might be wearing these for a while, do they look good? Do they feel right on your face?
Darker isn’t always better! wearing a shade that is too dark for your level of sight might affect your ease of mobility.
Shades are not just for summer! Wear your tints and shades all year round as the angle of the light will change and may still affect you.

Tints and shades

What is the difference between a tint and shades?

A tint is a coloured lens in glasses and fitovers that block certain colours of the spectrum that may cause glare or strain.

Shades are designed to protect from sunlight often with additions of protection for UV, polarisation or reflection outer layers, these tend to have very dark tints as well.

Find the right tint and shade for the type of glare that you have.

Test glasses in the following environments as you may require different tints for different settings:

  • Sunlight
  • Fluorescent lighting
  • Television/computer/tablet/smartphones (after adjusting contrast settings)

Finding the right sunglass style for you.

  • Wrap Around
    • Pros block out any glare that might come around the sides of the glasses, good if you don’t already wear glasses.
    • Cons, if you rely on peripheral vision a lot it may restrict your field of vision.
  • Aviators
    • Pros as a larger lens it covers a wider field of vision and looks like a normal pair of glasses or shades.
    • Cons offer no protection for peripheral vision.
  • Clip Ons
    • Pros, you can flip them up/down and take them on and off of your prescription when required.
    • Cons, offers no protection for peripheral vision, as they are clipped onto the centre of your glasses the balance can be uncomfortable.
  • Sidekicks
    • Pros, you can flip them up/down and take them on and off of your prescription glasses when required, they cover the front and sides of your vision.
    • Cons may have a small amount of field not covered in the bottom of vision, as they are clipped onto the centre of your glasses the balance can be uncomfortable.
  • Fitovers/cocoons
    • Pros, they fit over your glasses perfectly as they are measured to size, are easily removable, tiny tinted windows on the side to cover the whole field of vision.
    • Cons, the price can get a bit expensive, and it’s difficult to gauge size if you don’t already have glasses.
  • Added tints to your prescriptions
    • If you find that you need a tint at all times, one can be added to your prescription glasses if needed, please consult with your local optician or Low vision clinic.

Where to try out tints and shades.

Depending on availability you may be able to try these on a short-term loan.

  • The Low Vision Clinic at your local hospital
  • Sensory services
  • Local Sight Loss society

Always try them out before buying.

The best quality specialised shades come from the following manufacturers:

Commercial sunglasses – Things to consider.

  • Are they polarised, this allows only light to enter vertically this decreases glare from sources above such as overhead lighting and summer sun however it is not useful when looking at phone screens.
  • Is the tint colour correct for your eye condition, depending on your eye condition one tint might be more useful than another, consult a specialist in your eye condition, eye clinic or sight loss charity for more specifics.
  • UVA and UVB protection, are a must, it doesn’t block visible light but offers another line of defence.

Most popular tints and shades.

  • Twilight or driving glasses, these block out the least amount of light but may take the edge off of the glare, people with no visual impairment often find these useful as well.
  • Lemon or yellow is helpful for macular degeneration and optic atrophy.
  • Orange may be useful for Glaucoma and Cataracts.
  • Plum or Red, is helpful for generally absorbing light which is good for photophobia and diabetic retinopathy.
  • Green sharpens contrast.
  • Hazelnut doesn’t help specific conditions but it blocks out a lot of light.
  • Grey blocks out the most light.
  • Mirror tints including gold, green and blue, allow a lighter tint to the lenses with more protection as they reflect a lot of the light back before they pass through the lense and reach your eyes.

A big thanks to George at CamSight for compiling this guide for LOOK.

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