This article is about electrochromic sunglasses. I have tested them and would like to share my experience here. I also look at electrochromic sunglasses from an optician’s point of view and draw comparisons to normal sunglasses to show the differences.
In this test, electrochromic sunglasses from DUSK were used. The sunglasses themselves do not look very different compared to normal sunglasses. They are similar in the thickness of the frame. However, it is noticeable that the electrochromic lenses in the sunglasses are completely flat.
Some people prefer the look of such flat lenses. However, this also allows more light to fall on the eye from the side. This means that more UV light can hit your eye from the side. Also, with flat sunglasses, there are more reflections on the back of the lenses, compared to more curved sunglasses.
The effect is reflections of everything that lies behind you. Especially bright light reflections from car headlights or the sun can dazzle conspicuously on the right or left edge of the lens. This is of course a disadvantage. What is very positive about electrochromic sunglasses from Dusk is the switching of the tint to a lighter or darker level. This works compared to transitions glasses within a moment instead of several minutes to need.
However, the quality of the tint is worse than conventional sunglasses. The reason is that the intensity of the tint changes not only with the setting of the glasses but also with the angle of view through the lenses. This means that when you look through the glasses from the side, the tint becomes slightly more intense. Personally, this bothered me. Instead, I prefer to have a more consistent tint.
What are Electrochromic Sunglasses?
Electrochromic sunglasses are equipped with Liquid crystal lenses that enable you to make the tint lighter or darker with a push of a button. The color could also theoretically be changed in this way. The change in tint is related to a certain voltage.
When a certain voltage is applied, the crystals contained in the lens align themselves in the electric field so that they absorb more light and darken the lens.
The advantage of such lenses is that they can be controlled electronically regardless of the incident sunlight.
The Disadvantages of Electrochromic Sunglasses
Compared to traditional sunglasses, there is significantly less choice in tints. While you can very quickly find sunglasses with lenses that increase contrast in a given situation, this is not the case with electrochromic sunglasses. The choice is just very limited.
The choice is very limited not only in the color variations of the tints but also in the models. The following models are currently available.
- Dusk by Ampere
- MLONESEC01 by McLaren
- FADES by AshChromics
The selection is limited. However, many electrochromic sunglasses also have polarization. This provides an additional reduction of glare. The stronger the tint, the stronger the effect of glare reduction.
Polarization is fully there on the Dusk with all tint options. However, this also means that all tints are darker than 50%. This means that even the lightest tint shows a clear tint.
The tint varies somewhat with the intensity of the tint. The lighter tint looks almost greenish grayish while the darker tints look more grayish bluish.
Limited lens designs for people with prescription eyeglasses who do not want to wear contact lenses. There is no manufacturer with a significant selection of electrochromic lenses. This is a great pity because this target group is often would particularly benefit from a solution. Thus, full-fledged sunglasses or normal glasses could be worn. The change from a bright lens to a sunglass variant would be faster and also safer compared to putting on a clip-on.
Electrochromic Sunglasses a Conclusion
The lenses are highly interesting for the group of early adopters. However, from my point of view as an optician, they do not yet offer the same optical quality as conventional sunglasses. During my test with my Dusk sunglasses, I only switched over quite rarely. The split-second change in tint could not make up for the disadvantages of the uneven tints that occur when looking through the lenses at an angle.
However, I am convinced that electrochromic sunglasses will establish themselves on the mass market over time. If the manufacturers manage to make the tints more even and use high-quality anti-reflective coatings, then these glasses will become established. In my opinion, they are a better alternative than photochromic sunglasses, which take several minutes to lighten from a dark state.
If you want to know more about electrochromic glasses, here is a detailed review of the Dusk from Ampere.