Sunglasses Tint Level

Q: I have tinted polarized wrapped sunglasses that are nominally 80% tint. I use them for driving and for flying and find that they are not dark enough for either.

Even on cloudy days I'm squinting the entire time and end up with nasty headaches and throbbing facial muscles after just a few hours. Light leakage isn't an issue because of the wrap, plus I wear a hat.

The old glasses are scratched and it's time for new ones. One local optician refuses to sell me anything darker than 80% and another says driving will be dangerous with a 90% tint. I've never owned a pair of sunglasses that actually relieved the squinting outdoors and suspect my eyes are more sensitive than most.

I usually have the lights turned down and have no problems reading in dim light. Outside without sunglasses on a sunny day I'm completely blinded and cannot open my eyes at all. I've been this way all my life.

Isn't there some standard test procedure for determining the correct tint without expensive trial and error? Why can't I just get a pair of sunglasses that's dark enough? It seems like opticians are more concerned about covering their liability than ordering the correct tint.


A: Hello,

As I see it, we have 2 issues here.
First is the eye condition you have, and second the sunglasses standards on tinting.

First, I must say that what you are describing me about squinting all the time and headaches because of the light may point to an eye condition that can be meet in several situations.

You say you are like this all your life so I think it is stationary, is not advancing, but I suggest you to make a complete ophthalmological consultation, because maybe the problem is there and can be cured.

I don’t believe in expensive trials or other tests just to try to find a problem, but I believe that a complete analysis of your eyes may find a real issue and remove it. After this, when you have a clear result, you can go and buy a good pair of sunglasses to help you.

Second, about the standard eyeglasses, I can tell you that 80% it is indeed a dark shade for a normal eye and anything above it it is considered too dark and they are special occasion glasses (welding, sun-watching, iron melting ) usually professional special lenses.

So maybe it will help if you make the consultation and then go to the optician with the consultation paper that shows your problem and order the proper sunglasses for you. This way they are covered and so are you, and they should order the right pair for you.

Hope this helps,

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