Understanding Lenses & Coatings Options for Eyeglasses

Glasses can come with all sorts of custom coatings and lenses depending on what you want or need. While some of these effects may come standard with your prescription, most of them can be chosen and applied to your prescription when you're ordering your glasses.

The lenses themselves can be changed to use a different material or shape, which can result in your lenses being thinner or more resilient to damage or glare. There are many different types of lenses to choose from that may be available to you.

  • Aspheric Lenses: Aspheric lenses are slimmer than conventional spherical lenses, and often look slimmer. Instead of having equal curvature over the entire lens, the surface of an aspheric lens gradually changes, which also grants the wearer a larger usable lens. Those with high prescriptions may not be able to use these.
  • Bifocals and Trifocals: Bifocals and trifocals combine corrections for nearsightedness and farsightedness. The top of the lens corrects long distance viewing, while the lower top of the lens helps wearers see things close up. In the case of trifocals, a third lens is added to provide magnification for objects within just a few feet. Bifocals and trifocals have set lines that separate the two lenses.
  • Progressive Lenses: Progressive lenses work like bifocals and trifocals, but there is no set line between the lenses; instead, the lenses transition from distance viewing to close-range viewing as the wearer changes where they're looking, which can be much less jarring than suddenly switching what lens they are looking through. These lenses may be more pricey than the bi- and trifocal lenses.
  • High-Index: High-index plastic replaces glass lenses, which provides multiple benefits. Plastic requires less material than glass to provide a correction, which means no "Coke bottle" effect. They are also lighter and more comfortable than glass lenses, but they may cost you more than simply going with glass lenses.
  • Photochromic: These lenses can be made from either glass or plastic, and will automatically darken when exposed to sunlight. This can save you the need to buy a separate pair of sunglasses, but they may not work in cars; car windshields often block the UV rays that trigger the glasses to darken.
  • Polycarbonate: Polycarbonate lenses are durable and impact resistant, which makes them useful for people who are highly active and children. They're also a good choice for rimless glasses, and their built-in UV filters help prevent macular degeneration and cataracts.
  • Polarized: Polarized lenses are designed to help prevent glare, and are useful to anyone who is sensitive to light or who is continually exposed to bright sunlight. The anti-glare effect reduces eye strain and improves visibility. Most of these lenses also come with built-in UV protection.

Beyond the lenses themselves are the lens coatings, which can be added on to most lenses for a price.

  • Anti-Reflective Coating: An anti-reflective coating works somewhat like a polarized lens, and help prevent glare and the "halo" effect from lights.
  • Scratch-Resistant Coating: A scratch-resistant coating makes your lenses more resistant to damage. This won't make your glasses scratch proof, but it can make them last much longer.
  • UV Protection: UV protection helps protect your eyes from exposure to UVA and UVB, which can cause serious eye problems. This coating can be combined with UV protection that is already in your lenses.

Learn more about these options and payment plans by talking to suppliers such as AICO Optical.