When buying eyeglasses,
most people are unaware of the lenses that are available to them. With
evolving technology, lenses have become much more advanced and just as
important as eyeglass frames. We've created this simple guide to educate
and help you better understand the types of lenses and wide assortment of
lens options that are available. While reading this guide, you should ask
yourself some questions like:
- Do I spend a lot of time
- Do I play impact sports?
- Do I spend a lot of time
driving in a car, particularly at night?
- Do my eyes become easily
irritated by the sun?
- Do I spend a lot of time in front of a
- Do I wear eyeglasses more than 2-3 hours per day?
The answers to these questions will help you determine what lenses will work
best for you and your lifestyle.
Types of Lenses
After an eye exam, your provider will know your prescription
and be able to recommend the type of lenses that you need. Most people require
single vision lenses to correct nearsightedness or farsightedness or a
multi-focal lens (i.e. bifocal, trifocal and progressive lenses) when there is
more than one vision problem to correct. In rare cases, some people require
lenticular lenses to treat serious eye conditions such as cataracts.
Progressive lenses are great lenses to have when a multi-focal lens is
required to correct your vision. These lenses include a continuous band of
progressive optical strengths that incorporate your prescription along a range
of prescription strengths and allows for your eyes to adjust as it leaves
focus of an object faraway and progress along the prescription field to focus
on an object up close. Standard bifocal or trifocal lenses have distinct
prescriptions in sections of the lens that are divided by a line to
differentiate between prescriptions. An abundant amount of people have
reported headaches, dizziness and eye fatigue when trying to focus on a new
object with standard bifocal and trifocal lenses. Progressive lenses provide
you with the ease of adjustment without the sudden change as your eyes adjust
focus on a new object.
Once you know what type of lenses you need, you and your eye
care professional will need to decide what type of materials your lenses
should be made of. It is best to have a list of questions to ask your doctor
to ensure that your lenses are as functional as they are fashionable.
High-Index Lenses: These lenses are manufactured using a
specialized plastic that refracts light better than normal plastic lenses.
High-index lenses are thinner, lighter and more comfortable than traditional
plastic lenses. These lenses are also revered by individuals with strong
prescriptions because high-index lenses eliminate the appearance of magnified
Polycarbonate Lenses: These lenses are made of a
hardened plastic that are more impact- resistant than standard plastic
lenses and have ultra-violet (UV) protection manufactured directly in the
lenses. Like high-index lenses, polycarbonate lenses are lighter and
thinner than standard plastic lenses. These qualities make polycarbonate
lenses the ideal choice for children, sports eyewear and safety
Photochromic Lenses: Individuals with
light eye pigment and sensitivity to the sun should consider photochromic
lenses. Photochromic lenses will change from clear lenses into dark-colored
lenses, similar in color to that of sunglasses, when exposed to the
ultra-violet (UV) rays found in sunlight. These are great because you now
will have the convenience of sunglasses and eyeglasses in one frame, and
eliminate the hassles of having to remember to bring your sunglasses or
There are a multitude of coatings available for lenses today.
All of the coatings listed below can be added to lenses during the
manufacturing of your eyeglasses. The type of coating(s) you and your
provider may select will depend on your lifestyle and what is most
beneficial to you.
Scratch-Resistant Coating: This
type of coating is highly beneficial because it protects and extends the
life of your lenses. When it is applied to the front and back of lenses,
this hard-coating will make your lenses more resistant to scratching, which
can happen if you accidently drop your eyeglasses, clean the lenses with a
paper towel, or even worse, your shirt. A scratch-resistant coating is a
cost-effective investment in your eyeglasses. Once lenses become scratched,
there is no way to fix them without purchasing new lenses.
Anti-Reflective (AR) Coating: This type of coating reduces
the amount of reflection on the lenses, which increases the amount of light
that is able to pass through the lens. With AR coating, individuals find an
increased quality of vision, especially during night-time driving, because
of the decrease in glare caused by oncoming traffic. Since AR coating
greatly reduces environment reflections, your lenses will appear thinner
and transparent, improving your appearance by allowing people to see your
eyes much clearer instead of reflections in your eyeglasses.
Ultra-Violet (UV) Coating: It is extremely important to
protect yourself from the long-term damages of UV rays from sunlight. UV
rays have been linked to the development of cataracts and even macular
degeneration. UV coating will help block these harmful rays as light passes
through your lenses. A lot of lenses (i.e. polycarbonate and photochromic
lenses) already have a UV coating on them, so be sure to ask your eye care
professional if UV coating is already included on your selected lenses.
Purchasing eyeglasses should be looked upon as an investment, so think
about your lifestyle needs carefully when picking out lenses because you can
achieve both functionality and fashion success with the right type of
lenses and available coatings.
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