Sunglass lens categories – what do they mean?

Following the last news post about polarised lenses, along a similar theme we thought it worthwhile explaining what the different sunglass lens categories mean. The category number equates to a percentage of the VLT (Visible Light Transmission) that is, how much light the lens lets through. The higher the VLT the lighter the lens, conversely the lower the VLT the darker the tint will be, blocking more light coming through to the eye, as follows:sunglass lens category table

  • Category 0: 80-100% VLT
  • Category 1: 43-80% VLT
  • Category 2: 18-43% VLT
  • Category 3: 8-18% VLT
  • Category 4: 3-8% VLT

The following is a general guide to the categories that apply to different lens colours. This has to be a general guide as the VLT can cover quite a wide a spectrum such as Category 1 which is 43-80%. Some lens colours are right on the “border” e.g. a yellow lens can have 78% VLT which is on the border between Category 0 and Category 1.

  • Category 0 – Clear, Light Yellow, Pale Orange
  • Category 1 – Yellow, Orange, Rose & Vermilion
  • Category 2 – Purple, Red, Amber & Light brown
  • Category 3 – ‘Standard’ Grey & Brown
  • Category 4 – Dark Grey & Dark Brown

Virtually all the grey and brown lens sunglasses we sell are Category 3 and suitable for use in strong sun conditions. See our range of leisure sunglasses.

Category 4 sunglasses are a specialist lens for intense sunlight/high glare conditions and they are clearly denoted in the product description. They also appeal to people that have very light-sensitive eyes (called photophobia). It’s important to note that a category 4 lens must not be used for driving as they are too dark and therefore potentially dangerous. It’s also worth pointing out that tint has nothing to do with blocking UVR. You can buy cheap sunglasses with a category 3 lens but without UV filters it can let in very harmful levels of UVR, damaging the eye. This is why good quality sunglasses have UV coatings applied to the lenses. Some lens materials do naturally block UV such as glass and polycarbonate.

Polarised Sunglasses – why polarised lenses are different

polarised sunglasses - roadOne of the questions we’re often asked is “what makes a polarised lens different?” Light waves from the sun travel in all directions but when they strike a surface like a road or water they begin vibrating in one direction, usually horizontally. This is called polarised light and it’s this harsh concentrated light – glare – that make it difficult to see and uncomfortable for your eyes. Polarised lenses are different to standard sunglass lenses; they have a special filter film either sandwiched between two other layers of the lens or applied to the front of a lens. The polarising filters used in polarised sunglasses absorb the horizontally-vibrating waves that reflect off a surface. That means that only vertically-vibrating waves get through the filter and reach your eye. This greatly reduces the intensity of reflective glare. Non-polarised sunglass lenses only reduce the amount of light entering the eye; they don’t block glare.

Glare not only makes it difficult and uncomfortable to see and can cause eye strain it also distorts the true colour of objects and makes them harder to distinguish. With polarised sunglasses you get glare-free vision, clear contrasts, more natural colours and reduced eye strain or fatigue. Glare also causes a mirror-effect on water. As a polarised lens will eliminate glare on the water it means you will be able to see down below the water surface which is why they are so popular with fishing enthusiasts.

It’s worth noting that whilst there are many benefits to wearing polarised sunglasses, virtually all polarised sunglasses under £50 (including all Evolution models) use a multi-layered lens material called TAC (Triacetate) with the front layer being the polarised film. A TAC lens is quite thin, usually no more than 1.2mm and does not provide impact protection, so for sports like shooting where impact protection is required, a TAC polarised lens is not recommended.

Shop our range of Polarised Sunglasses, with glare blocking lenses making them suitable for fishing, boating, sailing & watersports, skiing and driving.

And another brand new arrival!

Just arrived from our factory, another brand new model: Evolution Peniche has a matte black frame (with yellow detail) and two polarised lens options: grey & blue revo.

Evolution Peniche greyEvolution Peniche blue revo

Peniche is a Floating Frame design which means it will not sink in fresh or sea water. The full wrap fit frame has deep temples to keep out wind & glare. The robust but lightweight frame construction includes non-slip rubber nose pads. It comes with an adjustable (non-detachable) strap. Whilst primarily designed for watersports, Peniche can be used for a variety of other sports like off-road cycling, fishing, paragliding and skiing. It’s supplied with a soft carry pouch, cleaning cloth & hard case plus free polarised test card all for just £24.95!

Just in! Two brand new models.

We’ve just taken delivery (from our factory) of two brand new models:

Evolution Portofino is a stylish crossover sport-leisure style polarised sunglass available with grey lenses or smoke lenses with a blue revo mirror finish. It has an ultra-lightweight but super strong TR90 matte black frame. Supplied with cleaning cloth, soft carry pouch & hard case plus free polarised test card all for just £19.95 each.

Evolution Portofino Grey - polarised sunglassesEvolution Portofino Blue Revo - polarised sunglasses


Evolution Velo is a specialist cycling sunglass with a large lens with full wrap frame for total eye protection and to keep out wind & glare. It’s available with ether a grey lens or smoke lens with blue revo mirror. The frame is made from lightweight but super strong TR90 and lenses are Class 1 optical quality. All for the remarkable low price of just £16.95 each!


Evolution Velo Grey - cycling sunglassesEvolution Velo Revo - cycling sunglasses

Just in! Brand new Sportek prescription eyewear

We have just taken delivery from our factory of a totally new model called Evolution Sportek: stylish looking prescription eyewear with a detachable optical insert. It can be purchased as a single frame with grey lens or as 2, 3 & 4 lens interchangeable sets with the addition of yellow, orange and rose lenses. The TR90 nylon matte black frame is strong but lightweight and the large, one-piece lens provides total eye protection.

Evolution Sportek RX Montage

Sportek comes with an advanced ‘WP3’ lens coating acting as an invisible film giving these benefits:

– Oleophobic+Hydrophobic (repels rain, spray, water spots, grease, smudging and fingerprints)
– Easy lens cleaning (no-friction surface)
– Scratch resistance

Additional features include Class 1 optical quality lenses; 3 point adjustment on the arms (pivot up & down so the frame can sit higher or lower); UV400 rated, impact resistant, shatterproof polycarbonate lenses (complying with EN166F) and malleable temple tips for comfort & extra grip. The wide optical insert minimises any interference with peripheral vision. Supplied with detachable optical insert, soft carry pouch, cleaning cloth and hard case. Prices start at just £44.95. Click here to see it.

Now is the time to keep an eye on the UV Index

The UV Index, also known as the Solar UV Index, was developed by the World Health Organisation. The UV index forecast identifies the strength of ultraviolet radiation (UVR) from the sun at a particular place on a particular day, allowing you to take the necessary precautions to help reduce the impact of UVR on your health. As we know, small amounts of UVR exposure can be beneficial as it is essential for the production of vitamin D, however over exposure to UVR can lead to serious health issues such as skin cancers and eye damage that could result in cataracts and macular degeneration later in life.

The strength of UV varies depending on where you are in the world, the time of year and on a number of different weather factors such as the amount of cloud cover.

Here in the UK the UV index does not exceed 8 (8 is rare); 7 may occur on exceptional days, mostly in the month of June. Indices of 9 and 10 are very common in the Mediterranean area.

UV index

UV Index

  • 1-2 Low
  • 3-5 Moderate
  • 6-7 High
  • 8-10 Very high
  • 11 Extreme

The aim of the index is to warn people of increased risk and encourage them to use sun creams, sunglasses and hats when outdoors.

Choose your cycling eyewear

Did you know that Evolution has 10 different dedicated cycling sunglasses (most with two colour options). In addition we have several multi-sport models that can be used for a variety of different  sports including cycling. You can see them all in our Multi Sport & Cycling section. Almost all models are under £17 (with free UK delivery on orders of £15 and over) making them some of the best value cycling sunglasses available – anywhere! Buy any one from our Multi Sport & Cycling section and we’ll include an Evolution hard case worth £2.95 completely free – just use voucher code: HARDCASE when you buy (offer ends 31.7.20).

Why eyewear mists up when wearing a mask and how to stop it

If you’re now regularly wearing a mask on your face you’ll have noticed that your sunglasses, spectacles or medical goggles are prone to misting up. This is because the mask directs your breath upwards instead of in front of you, which is good for preventing disease transmission but a nuisance as it interferes with your vision. Sports eyewear that’s close fitting is also prone to mist up and for that reason we have Evolution branded anti-fog products. The one shown is made for us by an Italian company and it’s the most effective anti-fog product we’ve tested (and we’ve tested many!). You’ll find it in our accessories section.

The ‘go to’ brand for shooting eyewear

In the recently released May edition of Sporting Shooter magazine, editor Rebecca Green said, ‘Evolution Eyewear has long been the go-to brand for shooting glasses’. This was the lead comment on an editorial piece on our new Evolution Edge shooting eyewear, described by Rebecca as ‘offering shooters of all disciplines top quality protection with a great variety of lens colours to choose from’.

Crossfire 3 – new multi-lens model

Evolution has one of the largest ranges of interchangeable multi-lens sets of any manufacturer and another new addition is Crossfire 3. A great looking cross-over sport and leisure style sunglass that’s true unisex. It has a matte black frame and lenses made from impact resistant, shatterproof polycarbonate. The frame also features non-slip, adjustable nosepads. Lenses are class 1 optical grade and UV400 rated. It’s supplied with 3 interchangeable lenses: grey, orange and yellow. Lens changing is quick and easy. Great value, Crossfire 3 is just £34.95 supplied with a soft pouch, cleaning cloth and hard case – and free UK delivery!

Evolution have the Edge!

Evolution Edge 5 lens set montageWe’re delighted to announce the launch of Evolution Edge, the latest addition to UK’s best-selling shooting eyewear. Manufactured exclusively for us and 12 months in development, this technically advanced shooting eyewear suits all clay target disciplines and will also appeal to field sports enthusiasts.

Its long list of features includes: large full-wrap for total eye protection; Class 1 optical grade polycarbonate lens; impact resistant lens (complies with EN166); Oleophobic & Hydrophobic lens coating (water and oil repellent, smudge and fingerprint resistant); HCAF twin lens coating – superior hard coating on lens front protects against scratches and abrasion with anti-fog coating on the lens rear to prevent misting; Unobtrusive, adjustable nose piece; cam hinges to the temples (snap closure) and UV400 rated lens (maximum UVR protection).

John Heagren, Shooting Manager at Bisley Shooting Ground, comments,

“I’ve been using the new Evolution Edge model and I’m very impressed; they’re so light you hardly know you’re wearing them, and the lenses really are exceptional quality. Pretty much everything you could want in shooting eyewear, yet at sensible prices. Evolution are onto a winner with this excellent shooting eyewear”.

The Edge model is available in six individual shooting colours (grey, purple, orange, light yellow, rose and yellow) priced at £39.95 each plus an interchangeable 5 lens set priced at £129.95. Click here to see them.

New 2020 arrivals

We have just taken delivery of two new ranges made exclusively for Evolution Eyewear: Paradox and Connect X.

Archery Eyewear-2The new Evolution Paradox is designed specifically for archers. Featuring Class 1 Optical Quality lenses, the Paradox archery model has a 10 base curve and no nose piece providing totally unobscured vison at the point of aim. Importantly, it’s lightweight with a contoured lens shape so that even without a nose piece it rests comfortably on the nose. Both sides of the lens have a highly effective anti-fog coating to prevent misting up. Lenses are made from impact resistant, shatterproof polycarbonate lenses (complying with EN166) and are UV400 rated for maximum protection from UVR. Temples are non-slip with flexible tips for a firm but comfortable fit. It’s available in 3 individual archery-specific colours and an interchangeable 3-lens set.

Evolution Connect X OrangePrimarily aimed at shooting enthusiasts, Connect X replaces the previous Connect model with an upgraded new design. It features Class 1 Optical Quality lenses with an anti-fog coating to both sides of the lens. Lenses are also UV400 rated for maximum protection from UVR. Its 10-base curve provides total eye protection and it’s rimless for unobscured vision. It also has adjustable nose pads and non-slip flexible temples for a secure but comfortable fit. The impact resistant, shatterproof polycarbonate lenses comply with EN166. It’s available in 6 individual colours and a 4 lens interchangeable.