All About Eyeglasses – Your Guide to Prescription Eyeglass Lenses
Eyeglass lens options seem pretty straightforward.
They’re for correcting your vision. You get a prescription from your optometrist. You choose some frames. What else is there?
A lot, actually.
From choosing lens materials and high-performance coatings to deciding on the right lens type for your vision problems, there’s a lot of selections to make.
Know the Different Eyeglass Lens Options
Whether you’re happy with your resulting glasses will depend on making the right choices. Follow this guide and you’ll end up with a pair of glasses that suit you to a T.
Types of MaterialsEyeglass lenses are made from a variety of materials. Depending on the material you get, it will affect the weight, durability, and cost of your glasses.
· Plastic – Plastic lenses were introduced in the mid-20th-century as an alternative to glass. They’re inexpensive as well as lightweight.
· Glass – Historically, all eyeglasses had lenses made of glass. However, this material is heavy and breaks easily, which means most modern eyeglasses don’t have glass lenses.
· Polycarbonate – Scientists originally developed polycarbonate lenses for use in helmet visors, safety glasses, and bulletproof glass for banks. It was used for any activity with the risk of high-impact. In 2001, polycarbonate lenses for regular eyeglasses were introduced, called Trivex.
· High-index plastic – This type of lens is the thinnest and lightest available today. They also block 100% of UV light and are non-reflective.
Lens Treatments and Coatings
Along with lens materials, there are ultra-thin coatings you can get applied to the surface of your eyeglasses to increase their performance.
· Photochromic treatment – This lens treatment makes them respond to the sun’s UV rays. They will darken in response to bright light, but automatically return to clear when you go indoors or when the light dims.
· Anti-reflective coating – An anti-reflective coating on your lenses virtually eliminates glare and lens reflections. Your lenses will look invisible and give you a sharper view of the world around you, because they allow more light to reach your eyes.
· UV blocking treatment – Most modern lenses come with a UV blocking treatment that blocks 100% of harmful UV rays that can damage our eyes. Cheaper plastic lenses may not have it, so they’ll need it added.
· Anti-scratch coating – One of the only benefits of glass lenses over modern materials is that it’s a harder surface that’s less prone to scratching. However, new lens materials can get an anti-scratch coating that will make them just as durable as glass.
Eyeglass Lens Options for Correcting Vision
Your eyeglass lens options include the way they will bend the light to correct your vision. Usually, your prescription will determine how they’re made, but sometimes you have choices depending on your vision problems and how you want your glasses to work for you.
· Bifocal lenses – Not everyone is either nearsighted or farsighted. Some people have both problems and need corrective lenses to help them see objects both close-up and far away.
Instead of two different pairs of glasses that address each problem, you can choose bifocal lenses that offer two distinct areas of vision correction in one. A horizontal line across the lens divides the areas. The top helps you see in the distance, and the bottom helps you see up-close, so all you have to do is focus on the right area to see.
· Trifocal lenses – Trifocal lenses work like bifocals, but they have three distinct areas for vision correction instead of two. The top of the lens is for seeing in the distance, the middle is for seeing intermediate objects (usually at arm’s length), and the bottom is for seeing close-up.
· Progressive (multifocal) lenses – Progressive lenses work like the other options, but the various areas for seeing different distances are not distinct. Instead, the transition between them is smooth. As such, there are not just two or three lens powers, but multiple ones depending on where you’re focusing your eyes through the lenses.
Choose Your Frame Materials for Looks, Weight, and Durability
The frame materials you choose for your lenses will affect their weight and cost. They’ll also determine the style of your glasses, which is important to a lot of people.
Common Frame Materials
Common frames for eyeglasses can vary widely. Plastic options like cellulose propionate are strong and lightweight, but some people like the custom look of wood frames, for instance, or the durability of metal frames. Here are the basic choices:
· Plastic, including nylon and cellulose propionate – The most lightweight options
· Metal, including titanium, stainless steel, and beryllium – The most durable options
· Specialty materials, like wood, gold, or bone frames – The most unique and expensive options
Think About Your Lifestyle for Eyeglass Lens Options
The look, feel, durability, and performance of your eyeglasses will depend on the type and material of lenses as well as frame materials you choose.
Whatever eyeglass lens options you decide to go with, if you understand your choices, you’ll be able to make a wise decision that suits your lifestyle.