Not only can you choose a pair of glasses to match your personality or style, you can customize your eyeglasses to suit your lifestyle. Whether you spend hours in front of a computer screen for work or do a lot of night driving, there are lens options and treatments that can make your life easier and help preserve your eye health over time.
Making sure your glasses are functioning to the best of their ability is vital. From scratch-resistant and UV-blocking coatings to anti-glare, anti-fog and blue light filtering treatments, use this guide to discover which type of lens upgrade is right for you.
Types of Eyeglass Lenses Through Time
Thanks to technological advances, the lenses of modern eyewear are made from a variety of materials, each offering their own pro and cons.
The lenses of the first eyeglasses were made of glass. Although they were clear, fairly scratch-resistant and easy to see through, glass lenses were quite heavy and chipped and broke too easily. Today, glass lenses are hard to find. They also offer no protection from the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
Plastic lenses were invented back in the 1960s, and they are still used today. Made of a plastic polymer, plastic lenses are lighter and typically less expensive compared to other lenses; however, they can scratch easily and offer no UV protection.
Polycarbonate lenses were originally made for safety glasses back in the 1980s. These glasses are even lighter, more impact-resistant and less breakable than plastic lenses, making them a popular choice for kids and sports eyewear. Due to their durability, polycarbonate lenses can be expensive. This kind of lens can also cause distortions in the peripheral vision of some wearers.
High-Index Plastic Lenses
High-index plastic lenses are some of the thinnest lenses of modern eyewear. This type of lens is powerful, lightweight and great for stronger prescriptions – meaning the days of “soda bottle lenses” are over. Because high-index plastic lenses have a higher “index of refraction,” they tend to have more lens reflection and wearers can experience more glare.
Kinds of Eyeglass Lens Coatings and Treatments
Once you choose which material you would like your eyeglass lenses to be made of, you can protect your glasses – and your eyes – with different kinds of lens coatings.
No glasses are completely scratchproof, but some lenses are more prone to scratches than others. Scratch-resistant coatings – also referred to as scratch coats or hard coats – will help protect your lenses. Although they are the most impact-resistant, polycarbonate lenses are also the softest and would greatly benefit from this kind of treatment.
Opting for a UV-blocking lens treatment can help protect and preserve your eye health. UV rays are harmful to eyes, and longtime exposure is associated with eye problems like cataracts, eye cancer and macular degeneration, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Although they are not a full replacement for sunglasses, wearing glasses with UV reducing lenses whenever you are outside can help protect your eyes from the sun.
Both polycarbonate and a majority of high-index plastic lenses are built with protection from UV rays. So, consider a UV-blocking treatment for glass, plastic and some high-index plastic lenses.
Light reflections in lenses can reduce contrast and clarity, making it difficult to see. This can be especially troubling while driving at night. Anti-glare or anti-reflective coatings help reduce glare and sharpen vision.
An anti-glare coating is great for all kind of lenses, but this is especially helpful for high-index plastic lenses, which tend to be more reflective than others.
Blue Light Coating
While blue light does occur naturally, it is also emitted from the screens of our devices. Blue light has a shorter wavelength and higher energy, causing more strain on our eyes.
“More than half of U.S. adults – 60% – spend a minimum of six hours a day, every day on phones, tablets and computers,” according to LensCrafters. “So it’s important to practice good habits to keep your eyes safe from blue light.”
Blue light filtering lenses are great for all kinds of glasses, including prescription and non-prescription varieties.
Commonly known as transition lenses, photochromic lenses darken when exposed to sunlight and lighten in more shaded environments, offering some UV protection. This kind of lens treatment can be applied to a variety of eyeglass lens materials. When it comes to cons, photochromic lenses can be expensive and take some time to lighten after sunlight exposure.
Eyeglass lenses can fog when you move from a warm environment to a colder one, and vice versa. Mask wearing guidelines brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic have also led to more instances of foggy lenses, due to the condensation of one’s breath.
Foggy glasses are not just annoying; the inability to see can also be dangerous. An anti-fog coating can help keep your lenses clear.
LensCrafters created an anti-fog spray to address this issue, which is available in-store now.
Scratch-resistant, UV-blocking, anti-reflective, anti-fog and blue light reducing eyeglass lenses can help you see better and help preserve your overall eye health. Talk to your eye doctor about different lens coating and treatment options to figure out which would work best for you.
Learn more about lens options from LensCrafters.
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