Options for Eyeglass Lenses

When choosing eyeglasses, the right lens options not only improve vision, but also complement your profession and lifestyle.

Material World
When eyeglasses were first invented, optometrists ground lenses from glass. The downside, glass breaks easily and can injure they eye. In 1947, lenses were first crafted from a plastic polymer, CR-39. Still used today, this lightweight, low-cost material offers excellent optical qualities. In the 70s, impact-resistant polycarbonate lenses were introduced. These tough lenses continue as a popular consumer choice for everyday eyewear, especially for children.

Since the mid-90s, thin, lightweight, high-index lenses have offered an attractive alternative for stronger prescriptions to reduce magnification. Selecting smaller, more symmetrical frames in conjunction with high-index lenses, provides you with more flattering look, as well.

While glass and CR-39 lenses offer no sun protection, polycarbonate lenses block 100 percent of UV rays. In addition, any lens can be upgraded with a photochromic treatment that transitions the lens from clear to dark when exposed to sunlight.

For patients who require two different lens strengths in one lens, allowing for clarity of vision at a distance and close-up, progressive lenses provide a gradual shift of differing lens strengths for a more comfortable eyeglass experience.

A Note on Coatings
Because plastic lens materials have softer surfaces, they require anti-scratch coating for durability. Upgrading to a stronger anti-scratch coating makes economic sense when eyeglasses will be subjected to extra wear-and-tear.

A must for high-index lenses, anti-reflective coatings improve all eyeglass lenses by eliminating glare, enhancing eye contact and reducing eyestrain, especially if you work on a computer. If the latter is of great concern, computer glasses, with specifically crafted lenses for screen reading, are a great help.

Knowing lens options before shopping for eyewear provides a more customized experience and product, while accommodating varying budgets. See our opticians for more details.