This is a review of studies that have investigated the proposed rehabilitative benefit of tinted lenses and filters for people with low vision. Currently, eye care practitioners have to rely on marketing literature and anecdotal reports from users when making recommendations for tinted lens or filter use in low vision. Our main aim was to locate a prescribing protocol that was scientifically based and could assist low vision specialists with tinted lens prescribing decisions. We also wanted to determine if previous work had found any tinted lens/task or tinted lens/ocular condition relationships, i.e. were certain tints or filters of use for specific tasks or for specific eye conditions. Another aim was to provide a review of previous research in order to stimulate new work using modern experimental designs. Past studies of tinted lenses and low vision have assessed effects on visual acuity (VA), grating acuity, contrast sensitivity (CS), visual field, adaptation time, glare, photophobia and TV viewing. Objective and subjective outcome measures have been used. However, very little objective evidence has been provided to support anecdotal reports of improvements in visual performance. Many studies are flawed in that they lack controls for investigator bias, and placebo, learning and fatigue effects. Therefore, the use of tinted lenses in low vision remains controversial and eye care practitioners will have to continue to rely on anecdotal evidence to assist them in their prescribing decisions. Suggestions for future research, avoiding some of these experimental shortcomings, are made.