Can You Tint Polycarbonate Lenses: A Detailed Guide to Tinting Option [2023]

Have you wondered if you can tint your polycarbonate eyeglass lenses for added style, glare reduction, and UV protection? The good news is yes, polycarbonate plastic can be safely tinted at home or by a professional tinter.

But certain techniques and precautions are required to avoid damaging the lenses and coatings. Read on to learn the ins and outs of tinting polycarbonate lenses successfully.

Understanding Prescription Lens Coatings

Before exploring tinting options, it’s helpful to understand the various coatings used on prescription lenses. Polycarbonate plastic is naturally clear, impact-resistant, and lightweight. To enhance these lenses, additional coatings can be applied:

Anti-Reflective Coating: Reduces glare and reflections for improved vision

Scratch-Resistant Coating: Protects lenses from surface scratches and abrasions

UV Coating: Blocks ultraviolet rays to protect eyes

Tints: Adds color for style and eye protection

A quality tinting process won’t damage these beneficial coatings. When done correctly, tinting enhances the lenses while retaining other properties.


Why Add a Tint?

Tinting polycarbonate lenses provides several potential benefits:

i. Style:

Tints allow you to customize the look of your eyewear. Options range from subtle hue changes to bold colors.

ii. Glare Reduction:

A light tint can decrease glare from sunlight, water, snow, and other bright environments. This improves comfort and visual clarity.

iii. UV Protection:

Many tints help block ultraviolet radiation from the sun. This safeguards eyes from damage.

iv. Enhanced Contrast:

Certain tints increase contrast, helping objects stand out. This can aid focus, depth perception, and sports performance.

v. Light Control:

Darker tints cut down on overall light transmission. This relieves light sensitivity associated with conditions like migraines.

With the right approach, tinting lets you enjoy both form and function with your polycarbonate lenses.


Can You Tint Polycarbonate Lenses at Home?

Now that you know the benefits, you may be wondering: is DIY tinting of polycarbonate lenses possible?

The answer is yes – you can tint polycarbonate lenses at home. But specialized skills, equipment, and care are required to achieve quality results without damage. The polycarbonate material is naturally resistant to dyes and chemicals. This makes evenly saturating the lenses with color more challenging compared to other lens plastics.


Before tinting, inspect your lenses closely for any cracks or imperfections that could lead to breakage. Only use lens dyes formulated for polycarbonate plastic. Apply a lint-free cloth to evenly distribute the tint. Follow exact timings to allow the dye to fully saturate the lens material.


After tinting, a clear coat must be added to seal in the color. This protects against dye leaching out over time. Take precautions like wearing gloves and working in a dust-free area. Working slowly and cautiously is a must.


Even with great attention to detail, imperfections in the tint are common for amateur tinters. Streaks, uneven coloring, and substrate damage may occur. For these reasons, professional tinting is recommended for most polycarbonate wearers.

The Safest Route: Professional Tinting Services

Visiting an eye care professional for tinting polycarbonate lenses has distinct advantages:

  • Access to commercial-grade dyes, equipment, and facilities
  • Precision tinting and coating techniques perfected from years of experience
  • Ability to achieve special effects like gradients, patterns, and multi-color designs
  • Assurance of optimal UV protection and scratch resistance
  • Capability to tint lenses already set in frames
  • Experience working with polycarbonate and specialized dyes

With professional tinting, your satisfaction is guaranteed. Reputable tinters offer warranties against defects, fading, and delamination. Some provide free color enhancement services if you change your mind later.

Look for facilities that use advanced dipping methods rather than spray-on tints. Dipping allows for deeper penetration and uniform coverage. Be sure to ask about add-on enhancements too, like anti-reflective coatings in different strengths.


Home Scratch Removal Techniques and Supplies

If you already attempted tinting polycarbonate lenses yourself, small scratches likely resulted. Before visiting a pro for re-tinting, try these DIY scratch removal techniques using items you may already have around the house:

1. Toothpaste

Use a dollop of regular (not gel) toothpaste to gently polish out subtle scratches. Rinse and air dry afterwards.

2. Baking Soda

Form a paste with baking soda and water. Rub it into scratches using a soft cloth. Rinse and dry the lenses thoroughly.

3. Metal Polish

Opt for a gentle jewelry polishing cream. Rub a small amount into scratches, then rinse. Avoid liquid metal polish, which can be too harsh.

4. Plastic Polish

Available at auto parts stores, use a thin coat and buff out scratches. Be sure to get polycarbonate-safe polish.

5. Petroleum Jelly

Rub a tiny dab of petroleum jelly over scratches using a soft cloth. Wipe clean with lens cleaner.

6. Sandpaper

For deeper scratches, use 1000+ grit sandpaper. Gently sand in a circular motion until the scratch becomes less visible.

With extra care, these methods can reduce the appearance of scratches and imperfections. But be cautious not to worsen the problem. Your vision professional can advise if your lenses are still eligible for re-tinting.


FAQs: Tinting Polycarbonate Lenses

Still have questions about successfully tinting polycarbonate lenses?

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

Does tinting weaken polycarbonate lenses?

No. Reputable tints specially formulated for polycarbonate and proper application techniques will not harm the strength or structure of the lenses.


Can faded tints be re-tinted?

Yes, faded tints on polycarbonate can be restored by re-tinting lenses. This may require stripping out the old tint first for a uniform appearance.


Will anti-reflective coatings be affected?

Quality professional tints will not damage or remove anti-reflective and other beneficial lens coatings.


How dark can you tint polycarbonate lenses?

Polycarbonate absorbs tint well, allowing very dark options like 80% or 90% light reduction. But extremely dark tints can inhibit safe driving and indoor visibility.


Is tinting polycarbonate lenses more difficult than other plastics?

Yes, polycarbonate is more resistant to tinting compared to materials like CR-39. But optical professionals have specialized dyes and techniques to overcome this challenge.


How long does tinting polycarbonate lenses last?

Professionally applied tints last 3-5 years typically. Lighter tints may start fading after 1-2 years. Proper care helps maximize tint longevity.




Tinting polycarbonate eyeglass lenses offers many benefits, from stylish looks to reduced glare. With quality dyes and proper techniques, tinting won’t degrade the strength or coatings of polycarbonate plastic. DIY tinting is possible but tricky: imperfections like streaking often result. For guaranteed satisfaction, visit a professional tinting facility. Their expertise delivers vibrant, long-lasting tints that protect your eyes while making your frames look fantastic.

Read Also:

How Dark is 80% Tint Sunglasses?

What Color Tint Is Best for Gaming?

Walter Hendricks

Walter Hendricks is a well-known authority in the eyewear industry, specializing in a diverse range of products such as gaming glasses, swimming goggles, sunglasses, eyeglasses, computer glasses, and fashionable daily-wear eyewear.

Hendricks believes in empowering his readers with in-depth information to help them choose the right glasses that blend functionality and fashion, catering to their unique lifestyle requirements.

His comprehensive reviews and informative articles provide clear insights on everything from cutting-edge gaming glasses to the latest trends in eyewear fashion. Through his work, Hendricks has proven his dedication to helping consumers make informed eyewear decisions that support both their visual needs and style preferences.