Gradient Sunglasses

7 sources cited
Vision Center is funded by our readers. We may earn commissions if you purchase something via one of our links.

What are Gradient Sunglasses?

Gradient sunglasses are two-tone sunglasses that are darker on one part and lighter on the other. This is helpful for wearing the glasses both indoors and outdoors.

This kind of eyewear is made by adding metal oxide to the lens material. It can be added during creation or may be applied to the surface of the lens.

Where to Buy Sunglasses

Biggest Selection: GlassesUSA

Fastest Delivery: EyeBuyDirect

Best Independent Retailer: Warby Parker

How Do Gradient Sunglasses Work?

Gradient sunglasses have two shades: dark and light.

They limit the intensity of glares from the sun while still giving you the option to look through a lighter part of the lens. 

Gradient sunglasses can make you more comfortable while reading outside, playing sports in the sun, driving, or doing other activities while you’re outdoors.

On their own, gradient lenses don't block UV rays. Be sure to look for lenses with UV protection to protect your eyes.

What are the Benefits of Gradient Sunglasses?

Gradient sunglasses boast tons of benefits:

Gradient sunglasses help to keep your eyes comfortable in the sun, but you can still see clearly when you’re inside or in shaded areas.

They are ideal for driving because they can shield your eyes from the sunlight and simultaneously allow some light through so you can read your dashboard.

Gradient sunglasses allow people to still see your eyes through them while still giving you the protection you need against the sun’s harmful UV rays. This, of course, can enhance eye contact.

Though not a health benefit, they are stylish and can make a fashion statement.

What is the Difference Between Polarized and Gradient Sunglasses?

Polarized sunglasses protect your eyes from light reflecting off surfaces like water, snow, asphalt, and sheet metal.

They reduce the reflection by limiting specific wavelengths with a chemical that filters the light that meets your eye. Polarized sunglasses absorb horizontal light waves (glares) but allow vertical waves to travel through.

polarized sunglass

Gradient tint sunglasses feature a tint that gradually changes from a darker to lighter shade to reduce glare. The tint does not block UV rays from actually harming your eyes. It just makes the impact of the sun’s rays feel less intense when they meet your eyes. 

Because they reduce the intensity of the light, however, they can also cause your pupils to dilate. This can pose problems because dilated pupils can allow UV rays to enter your eye easier.

Gradient sunglasses may, therefore, have adverse effects and do more bad than good. These lenses must also have a UV treatment to provide 100% UV blocking benefits.

Whether you are purchasing gradient or polarized sunglasses, make sure they also provide 100% UV protection.

What is the Difference Between Standard and Gradient Lens Tint?

A standard lens tint is just one shade. It can come in different colors, but the whole lens will be the same color.

A gradient lens tint moves from a dark to a light shade. They can also come in different colors.

Both sunglasses will help prevent the sun’s glares from hurting your eyes by limiting the intensity of the light.

While standard tint shades will give you more coverage, a gradient lens tint may make more sense for you if you are wearing your glasses both inside and outside.

Gradient lenses can be beneficial if you’re going to use them for driving, where you’ll need to be looking outside but still be able to read the dashboard inside your car.

Whether you choose standard or gradient lenses is entirely up to you and your lifestyle.

Click here for more information on the best types of sunglasses for your face shape.

Types of Gradient Sunglasses

There are two different types of gradient sunglasses:

Single Gradient Lenses

Single gradient lenses are darker on the top and lighter on the bottom. This can cut out glares from the overhead sunlight in the sky while still allowing you to look through the bottom of the lens to see clearly.

Double Gradient Lenses

Double gradient lenses are darker on top, but they’re also darker on the bottom and are lighter in the middle. These help cut out glares from both the sun in the sky and the sun’s reflection off the ground, such as from snow or asphalt.

Both options will help to shield your eyes from the sunlight.

Gradient sunglasses will keep your eyes shielded from the sun and may make everyday life outdoors — driving, reading, or exercising easier.

But it’s important to weigh all of your sunglass options to determine what types of lenses are best for you. If you need added protection or prescription lenses, gradient sunglasses might not be enough for you. 

Best Places to Buy Glasses

Best Overall

Warby Parker has stylish, high-quality frames at affordable prices.

Also Great

Liingo Eyewear is another great option to buy glasses online.

Best on a Budget

EyeBuyDirect has a wide variety of budget frames starting at $6.

Best Places to Buy Contacts

Best Overall

1-800 Contacts is our #1 recommendation to buy contacts online.

glasses usa logo
Also Great

GlassesUSA has a huge selection of contacts, glasses, & sunglasses.

7 Cited Research Articles
  1. “Polarized Lenses and How They Work.” Dr. Floyd Smith | Optometrist, Westwood, NJ 07675, 31 July 2013,
  2. “Recommended Types of Sunglasses.” American Academy of Ophthalmology, 28 Feb. 2018,
  3. Shelia. “Tinted Lenses.” Emily Eye Care, LLC,
  4. “Sunglasses Brands: Sunglass Hut.” Sunglass Hut Online Store,
  5. Surrence, Matthew. “Tinted vs. Polarized Glasses - What's Better?: Zenni Optical.” The Zenni Blog, 25 June 2020,
  7. “What Are Polarized Lenses For?” American Academy of Ophthalmology, 14 Jan. 2019,
Vision Center Logo
The information provided on should not be used in place of actual information provided by a doctor or a specialist.

All about Vision Center

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram