Updated on  February 20, 2024
4 min read

Gradient Sunglasses

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Gradient sunglasses offer stylish sun protection, popular in both men and women. A gradient means the sunglasses have a darker tint at the top and fade to a lighter tint at the bottom.

They’re practical because they protect you from the sun’s glare while allowing you to see more details than you would with nongradient glasses. They can also make you more comfortable reading outside, playing sports in the sun, driving, or doing other outdoor activities.

Gradient sunglasses pictured on a white studio background

What are the Benefits of Gradient Sunglasses?

Gradient sunglasses keep your eyes comfortable outside, while still allowing you to see indoors or in shaded areas. Other benefits include:

  • Shielding your eyes from the sunlight while allowing more light through to read your dashboard while driving
  • Allowing people to see your eyes while protecting them from the sun’s harmful UV rays
  • A classy, understated style

What Are the Disadvantages of Gradient Lenses?

Unless specifically stated, gradient lenses don’t block UV rays. Because they reduce the light’s intensity, they can cause your pupils to dilate, which can allow UV rays to enter your eye more easily.

How Do Gradient Sunglasses Work?

The darker tint in the upper part of the sunglasses reduces glare intensity. The lighter tint in the lower part lets more light in, allowing you to focus on details that would otherwise be too dark to see.  

Gradient sunglasses are made by adding metal oxide to the lens material. It can be added during creation or applied to the lens’s surface.

Are Gradient Lenses UV-Blocking?

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

Are Gradient Sunglasses Fashionable?

Gradient lenses create a subtle look to complement your personal style. These fashion accessories have grown increasingly popular in recent years. Now many brands make gradient sunglasses.

You can find gradient sunglasses from well-known fashion brands, including Gucci, Dior, Prada, and Ray-Ban. In addition to the standard grey lenses, you can find gradient sunglasses in various color options, such as green and blue.

Where to Buy Sunglasses

Biggest Selection: GlassesUSA

Fastest Delivery: EyeBuyDirect

Best Independent Retailer: Warby Parker

What Is the Difference Between Solid and Gradient Lens Tint?

Solid and gradient lenses will help prevent the sun from hurting your eyes by limiting the intensity of the light. Here’s how they differ:

  • A solid lens tint is just one shade. It can come in different colors, but the 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.

When Should I Choose Gradient Lenses?

While solid tint shades will give you more coverage, a gradient lens tint is more suitable if you wear your glasses inside and outside. This is because gradient lenses allow more light in through the lower part.

Gradient lenses can be beneficial if you use them for driving. This is because you’ll need to look outside but still be able to read the dashboard inside your car.

Types of Gradient Sunglasses

There are two different types of gradient sunglasses that help shield your eyes from sunlight. These are:

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 sunglasses are darker on the top and bottom and are lighter in the middle. This helps cut out glares from the sun in the sky and the sun’s reflection off the ground, such as from snow or asphalt.

Choosing Between Polarized and Gradient Sunglasses

Both polarized and gradient lenses provide protection from light glare and eyestrain. Each lens type is designed to make you feel more comfortable in sunny environments. However, they are not the same.

There are many differences between polarized and gradient lenses. Understanding how they differ will help you choose the right type of glasses for your lifestyle.

Polarized Sunglasses

Polarized sunglasses protect your eyes from light reflecting off surfaces like:

  • Water
  • Snow
  • Asphalt
  • Sheet metal

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

Polarized lenses can cause problems viewing digital screens, such as your smartphone or vehicle dashboard display.

Polarized lens illustration of reflected light vs clear light

Gradient Sunglasses

Gradient lenses feature a tint that gradually changes from a darker to a lighter shade to reduce glare. The tint does not block UV rays from actually harming your eyes.

Which Is Better: Polarized Or Gradient Sunglasses?

Whether you’re buying polarized or gradient sunglasses, both sunglasses offer different benefits. In general:

  • Polarized sunglasses. More suitable for high-glare environments like water or snow
  • Gradient lenses. Preferred for afternoon and daytime driving

Regardless, you should ensure your lenses provide 100% UV light protection.


Gradient sunglasses are practical and stylish. They protect your eyes from the sun and may make everyday life outdoors — driving, reading, or exercising easier. However, weighing your sunglasses options is essential to determine what lenses are best for you. 

Other lens options include polarized and solid tint lenses. The type of lens that’s best for you depends on your preferences, lifestyle, and vision needs. Always make sure you buy a pair of sunglasses that provides 100% UV protection.

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

Discount Contacts is our #1 recommendation to buy contacts online.

glasses usa logo
Also Great

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

Updated on  February 20, 2024
6 sources cited
Updated on  February 20, 2024
  1. Polarized Lenses and How They Work.” Dr. Floyd Smith,  2013.
  2. Recommended Types of Sunglasses.” American Academy of Ophthalmology, 2015. 
  3. Tinted Lenses.” Emily Eye Care.
  4. Sunglasses Brands.” Sunglass Hut. 
  5. Ahi, M “Polarized Vs. Non Polarized Sunglasses: Which Ones Should You Choose?” Zenni Optical, 2023. 
  6. Boyd, K., and Turbert, D. “What Are Polarized Lenses For?” American Academy of Ophthalmology, 2022.
The information provided on VisionCenter.org should not be used in place of actual information provided by a doctor or a specialist.