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There are many factors to consider when choosing a pair of sunglasses. Once you know a little more about the technology put into a high quality pair of sunglasses you will be better informed to choose pair that work best for you. This may get a little nerdy, but if you want what is best for you, read on.

If you are interested in sport specific eyeware, choosing the proper lens is the first step. There is a lot of confusion when it comes to selecting a lens that is optimized for specific environment. Most buyers have not been privy to the data they need to make the best decision. So in turn, we generally buy on emotion and not on rational reasoning. Neuroscientists have a field day with statement.

If it’s true that 95% of our purchase decisions take place unconsciously, then why are we not able to look back through our decision history, and find countless examples of emotional decisions? The answer is that our conscious mind will always make up reasons to justify our unconscious decisions.

Often times, our conscious mind justifies to the unconscious mind that we know more than we do about the subject matter. I personally was a sunglasses whore! I tried them all. I bought on what my peers wore and told me was cool. I fell for the marketing. If my fishing idols wore a certain sponsor’s brand, well I should too. Heck, they catch a lot of fish! Are they seeing something I am not? Our company has spent 3 years steadfastly researching optic lenses. As with most of your hunting, fishing and shooting gear, one size does not fit all. The technology is there, but most companies market to the masses. We wanted to do something different. Our goal was to produce eyeware that was purpose built to provide the clearest most efficient vision in a specific environment. With a few exceptions that we will cover, the frame is fashion, the horsepower is in the lens.

Let me provide a little ground work on what makes a great lens.

  1. Lens Material - ABBE Value is a number given to describe the amount of chromatic aberration of an ophthalmic lens material.   What? I warned you. This is a complicated way of measuring the clarity of transparent materials. Theoretically, perfect transparency has an ABBE value of 100. Because light that travels through both the cornea and the crystalline lens the human eye has an ABBE Value of around 50.  Lesson 1: Anytime you use a material with an ABBE value less than that of your eye, you are decreasing your vision.  In the market today, there are two materials that exceed or meet the eyes ABBE Value, Polyamide and Mineral Glass. Most common materials used in sunglasses are not nearly as clear as your eye.

Material                  

ABBE Value

CR-39

58

Polyamid

52

Mineral Glass

50

Human Eye

46-50

Trivex

45

Polycarbonate

30


This is a good start but, as you will see, there is more to a good lens material than just clarity. We also need to consider a few other aspects. In the Hook + Bullet world, you should consider the following four.

  1. Scratch resistance – Like the ABBE Value, the fuzzy brains also have ways to measure scratch resistance. The most common is the Bayer Abrasion Ratio. The test subjects both a coated lens (hard coating, not a mirror coating) and an uncoated CR-39 standard to abrasion from oscillating sand. After a set number of cycles, the haze gain is measured on both lenses. The ratio of haze gain of the uncoated lens to the coated lens is the Bayer Ratio. A CR-39 lens is given a ratio of 1 and all other materials are measured against that.
                                 

Material                  

Bayer Ratio

CR-39

1

Polyamid

2-5

Mineral Glass

25-30

Human Eye

Ouch!

Trivex

2-5

Polycarbonate

2-5


As you would expect, glass scores very well. CR-39 is a much softer material and scores the lowest. As mentioned above, exterior mirror coatings to not apply to this test. With improper care, your mirror coating will scratch long before your lens itself does. We add an additional hydrophobic and oleophobic coating (repels water and oil) over our mirroring that significantly helps prevent scratching. Lesson 2: Regardless of your choice in sunglasses, do not lay them lens down or clean them with an abrasive or dirty cloth (like a salty shirt).

  1. Comfort – A large aspect of comfort can be attributed to the weight of your sunglasses. And while weight is certainly a combination of the frame and the lens, a disproportional percentage of the overall weight is sitting on the bridge of your nose. Lesson 3: In an ideal world, your sunglasses would be so light and clear, you would forget that you even had them on.  

Material                

Weight (g/cm³)

CR-39

1.30

Polyamid

1.01

Mineral Glass

2.5

Trivex

1.11

Polycarbonate

1.20


This is one of the major drawbacks of glass. It is 2.5 times heavier than polyamide. Over time, this will certainly have an impact on your comfort. Think about how many times you have seen people take there glasses off revealing large indentions into their nose from the weight of the glasses.

 

  1. UV Protection – UV refers to the Ultraviolet Radiation that penetrates the Earth's atmosphere from the sun. In today’s world this seems like a given and in most high quality lens it is. This might be a good time to talk a bit about some of the cheaper sunglasses on the market. Skimping on the UV protection can be very dangerous to your eyes. A tinted lens without proper UV protection will fool your eyes into relaxing in bright sun. This negates your natural and involuntary reflex to squint, allowing more damage than you would get without sunglasses at all. Lesson 4: There is a reason cheap sunglasses are cheap. Keep this in mind even with sunglasses for your kids. At a minimum, demand

    Every Hook + Bullet SpectraLock PBO lens is UV-400 rated and blocks 99-100% of harmful UVA & UVB rays.

  2. Shatter Resistance – Another important quality of the lens material is that it provides adequate protection from impact and will not shatter potentially causing more damage to your eyes. This is also important in the unforeseen circumstance that you drop your sunglasses. It probably goes without saying that this is another area where glass comes up short.

  1. Coatings
    1. Hard coating
    2. Oleophobic and hydrophobic
  2. Filters
    1. Polarization
    2. Tint



  3. Visible Light Transmisssion (VLT) -

 

By now you would probably agree something to selecting a lens. You might even be asking “Where do I go from here?” That depends… what are you doing? Are you sight casting permit on the flats of the Bahamas, Livescoping crappie on Grenada, chasing marlin in the Baja, or just chilling on the beach with a rum drink? Does it really matter? Oh yeah! You will be shocked!  

In 2017 we set out on a mission to create a premium quality lens that we could optimize for very specific fishing, hunting and shooting environments by varying the tints, filters, and coatings. Thus was born, SpectraLock PBO (purpose built optics).

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