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27 Nov 2015

Revo Coatings for Sport Sunglasses – the truth and myths

AMO different  colour revo coating lens AMO different colour revo coating lens

This blog is about the multi-colour coatings you see on sunglasses lenses (called “Revo Coatings”).

Before I start this blog I would like to make a few statements.

(1) I love Revo Coatings on sunglasses. They look great and I can match the colourful coatings to my kit, my bike colours and select my favourite coloured lens.

(2) I am the founder of a sports sunglasses company and we sell Revo Coatings.

The problem is that I am not convinced that Revo Coatings serve any purpose except for aesthetics (looking good) and there very little information about what these coatings really do. There is also a lot of rubbish written about the benefits of Revo Coatings.

This blogs is about Revo Coatings on sports sunglasses and I have tried to separate the truth from the myths.

1.  REVO COATINGS USE NASA TECHNOLOGY

We all love a story and Revo Coatings has one of the best. 

Revo Coatings were developed with NASA technology. NASA developed to Revo Coatings to provide high-contrast viewing for the lenses of the visors for their space suits. How this story came about I do know now. I have had no independent verification and if these coatings were developed by NASA. Nobody says it was developed by NASA but developed " using their technology ". Is there a difference?

I am not aware of these Revo Coatings currently being used in the latest generation of NASA space suits  or that it is same Revo Coatings as is used in sunglasses. 

For the reasons below, I doubt that the Revo Coatings used in being used in space suits is the same as those on sunglasses. I think this is a myth but if anyone can provide me any evidence on this point please let me know.

2.  REVO COATINGS IMPROVE OPTICAL PERFORMANCE

Some companies allege that Revo Coatings enhance contrast and offering complete protection from the sun, blocking 99% of polarized glare. Sorry, this is not because of the Revo Coating and sounds more like polarisation. I find the benefits of Revo Coatings hard to swallow.

I have been to the factories and seen the process of Revo Coatings being done. A Revo Coatings is actually several layers of very fine powder (paint) which is baked onto the lens. It is made layer by layer, so it gets the colour rich and saturated, There can be up to 9-11 layers. The process is delicate but straightforward and "old tech".

These layers do nothing to reflect the harmful UV light rays (any more than paint would) and I cannot see how they improve the visual qualities of the lenses. 

In fact, I when I asked the factories of the benefits of Revo Coatings they say that the Revo Coating layers slightly reduce optical clarity and light transmittance (I understand the reduction in light transmittance is by 7 to 10%) but not to a point that it would be apparent to the naked eye.These benefits of Revo Coatings, in my view, are a myth.

AMO Twister with Revo coating lensAMO Twister with Revo coating lens

3.  REVO COATINGS ARE SCRATCH RESISTANT

Revo Coatings are the last layer of coatings that goes on to a sunglasses lens. It is a thin and delicate layer and this makes Revo Coatings more susceptible to scratching.I know there are companies out there that talk about their Revo Coating technology and how it is better and more scratch resistant etc. 

I have seen the process at done at several places and cannot see how this coating is scratch resistant. Those companies that maintain their Revo Coatings are different and more durable/scratch resistant, then please contact me now and explain how it is done.

For me with Revo Coatings you have to be much more careful and they are more prone to stretching.For me scratch resistant Revo Coatings are a myth.

4.  REVO COATING’S ARE JUST ABOUT LOOKING GOOD

I am a triathlete and ultra runner, I like to think I am not vain but I guess I am. I wear tight skin fitting clothes and stand out by wearing bright sport gear and love my bright training shoes.

I hate to admit that maybe I am victim of fashion. As I write this article I have a pair of Revo coated sports sunglasses on my head and wear my sunglasses as much in social occasions as I do when I need them during racing and training.

In our surveys (with my company AMO Sunglasses) when we ask athletes what is important about their sports sunglasses, very few of them say the most important thing is style or looking good. Most athletes talk about fit, comfort and optical clarity and style or 'looking good' comes about 3rd or 4th on their list.

But is more than that as if sport sunglasses do not look good then athletes will not even consider them despite how well they perform. You have to get past the "looking good" hurdle.

Looking good is really important. Sports sunglasses have to look good as well as have the best performance.

Sports sunglasses with Revo Coatings have very colourful lenses and are top sellers. They stand out, they look great, and they can be tailored to match your kit, bike or just be your favourite colour. 

They are very popular but I cannot find any reliable scientific evidence that it has any benefits; but frankly who cares. It is truth that Revo Coatings look good.

AMO founder wearing AMO Revo coating sunglassesAMO founder wearing AMO Revo coating sunglasses

CONCLUSION

What does this mean to you?  Should you stop buying Revo Coated sunglasses?  Of course not! The lenses make the sunglasses performance not the coatings. 

The base lens material provides the optical clarity and blocks the harmful UV sunlight. The top lens materials for sport sunglasses like 2mm thick Polycarbonate and Trivex NXT can still have Revo Coatings and you can get the benefit of the impact resistance and optical clarity plus the Revo Coating colourful effect.I use revo Coating on my sports sunglasses all the time.

That said: don’t expect the Revo Coatings to last as long as normal smoke or dark lenses. The coatings will scratch more easily so protect them more carefully. 

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These are my views based on my experience in the sunglasses business. I am happy to retract and amend anything I have written in this blog if you send me evidence that anything I have said above is wrong. 

My Sports Sunglasses company (AMO Sunglasses) offers a lifetime guarantee for is sports sunglasses but this excludes the Revo Coatings. For further information see this link at http://www.amosunglasses.com/warranty-policy.

These are my views. If you have any comments then please let me know your views.

As a reward for reading this far, AMO sunglasses are offering you an additional 10% discount if you purchase a new pair of AMO sports sunglasses. Just enter discount code "BLOG1065" at the AMO Shop.

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Tim Hallworth is a triathlete, adventure racer and ultra marathon runner and with his wife Fenny is co-founder of AMO sunglasses.

There are also similar blogs and artless about sports sunglasses and mutisports on the AMO Webpage at http://www.amosunglasses.com/latest/blog.

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What athletes say...

The AMO range...

Thunderstorm series

Protection and clarity for cyclists, mountain bikers and triathletes

Firestorm (red) - pictured with mirror-finish medium-dark lens. Also available in Snowstorm (white), Twister (green)

PT10revised

Typhoon series

Lightweight and comfort for ultra runners, marathon runners, cyclists and triathletes

Nimbus (white) - pictured with optional NXT polarised dark lens. Also available in Cirrus (yellow), Gale (pink)

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Transformer series

Strong and lightweight for multisports athletes including ultra runners, marathon runners, cyclists, mountain bikers and triathletes

Ironcatcher (black) - pictured with Revo blue lens. Also available in Prowler (white)

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