Tinting Transitions & Polarized Lenses

We are often asked to add tint to Transitions and Polarized lenses. This is never a good idea and comes with risks in both safety and lens durability. 

Tinting Sunglasses and Polarized Lenses

ANSI Z80.3-2018 is intended primarily for sunglasses. The standard accomplishes this by addressing the luminous transmittance that travels through the sunglasses. This is expressed in mathematical terms. The standard also covers specifications for variations of how much light reflects from sunglasses. An example of this is the traffic signal transmittance of the lens, in which daylight and traffic lights must be able to travel through the lens so that car drivers can properly see and engage with any traffic related concerns.

There are five categories of sunglass lenses based on the percentage of transmission. The higher the category, the darker the lens. The table below shows the category, transmission percentage, and limitations to use based on ANSI Z80.3-2018:

Polarized lenses

  • Category 4 = should never be used for driving,
  • Categories 2 & 3 = should not be used for night driving
  • The tint process can damage the polarized film inside the lens resulting in an impact to performance, breakage, brand damage, and/or a dissatisfied consumer.
  • Tinting a polar lens darker than 8% transmission level increases the risk for a driver to have an accident, as well as the liability for both you and your lab.
  • Polarized at C level will fall in category 3 which gives your patient the perfect amount of tint for bright sunlight while offering enough light transmission to safely see stop lights. 
  • DO NOT tint over polar lenses.

Transitions Lenses

Transitions establishes the processing guidelines for their lenses. Per their guidance to surfacing labs:

  • With the use of tintable hard coats, any subsequent tinting of the lens may adversely affect its performance characteristics, including but not limited to the photochromic performance and color/hue. It remains the responsibility of those performing any subsequent tinting to ensure that the product conforms to regulatory requirements.
  • Tinting voids the Transitions warranty.
  • DO NOT tint over Transitions lenses.

In summary:

  • Do not tint over Polarized lenses – due to potential film damage, performance impacts, potential brand damage, and liability to you and your lab.
  • Do not tint over Transitions lenses – due to damage of the photochromic performance and potential brand damage.
  • IcareLabs will no longer be adding tint to polarized and Transitions lenses and will not be tinting clear lenses to 90% or higher darkness.

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