If you wear glasses, you know they come in all shapes and sizes. Just picture Bruce Banner from The Avengers or Leonard from The Big Bang Theory. Their glasses are very different – not just because of the frames, but because of the lenses.
We tend to focus on our glasses frames so much that we forget how versatile the lenses are. Many lenses feature unique materials and coatings to meeting different vision needs. Plus, lenses are specially curved as needed to correct for vision deficiencies. Bottom line: when you need new glasses, understanding the type of lens you’ll need is even more important than selecting your frames.
So before you begin shopping and falling in love with a specific set of frames, it’s worth knowing which types of lenses are available to you today. Plus, knowing your options will allow you to discuss them with your eye doctor before you begin shopping!
Lenses Today: The Materials
First things first: we may wear “glasses,” but rarely are the lenses made out of glass! Glass has long gone out of style because it’s heavy and fragile. It can still be found occasionally, but it’s hardly the best material on the market.
Modern lenses are far more advanced than their glass ancestors – they’re built to be thinner, lighter, and more scratch-resistant. Plastic lenses, which have been in use since 1947, are beloved for their affordability, excellent optical qualities, and durability. Plastic is a popular material even today in lens making. A subset of these are high-index plastic lenses, which are made to be even thinner and lighter than their old-school counterparts. In addition to being more stylish, high-index glasses are recommended for people who need a very strong prescription to see.
Polycarbonate lenses, on the other hand, have been growing in popularity since the 1980s. These lenses are up to 10 times more impact-resistant than plastic or glass lenses – making them perfect for sports players as well as young children.
Then there are Trivex lenses, which are also lightweight and impact-resistant. Polycarbonate and Trivex glasses are very, very similar. But Polycarbonate lenses are slimmer, while Trivex lenses are lighter. And Trivex lenses may produce sharper central and peripheral vision fields – which is why many optical stores charge more for them.
Lenses Today: Multifocal Eyeglasses
As you age, you may need lenses with two or more prescriptions to correct your vision. Your options are bifocals and trifocals. Bifocals are split into two sections, and trifocals into three. Bifocals allow eyes that can no longer focus at all to see objects that are close as well as far away, depending on which section the wearer looks through. And the third section of a trifocal lens allows wearers to see objects within arm’s reach, such as computer screens.
Pro-tip: Don’t research these lenses too hard if you don’t have to, though. Regular eye exams will help you determine when a multifocal lens is needed. If a doctor prescribes it, wear it – and if they don’t, a single prescription lens is all you need.
Lenses Today: Coatings and Treatments
These days, glasses are often treated with special coatings to benefit wearers. The majority of lenses are built by default to be scratch-resist and to offer ultraviolet protection. And anti-reflective and tinted coatings are also an option, to help cut down on glare and help users see more clearly.
One of the most recognized examples of tinting involve glasses for computer user Often, yellow tinted lenses are used to cut down on blue light exposure, which reduces painful eyestrain. Fortunately, the latest step in glasses technology offers another option to users who want to care for their eyes without yellow lenses. The latest lens coatings can filter and reflect the harsh blue light from your computer, no tinting requires. This allows normal daywear frames to help ease the symptoms of digital eye strain and computer vision syndrome. Phonetic Eyewear, for example, specializes in glasses for computer use that treat style and eye care equally, allowing wearers to look their best while feeling their best!
Ready to talk about materials, multifocals, and coatings for your new glasses? Be sure to bring your questions to your next eye exam, where your eye doctor can answer questions about your specific eye needs. Then you can head on over to our online store to begin shopping for your computer eyewear needs! Phonetic’s standard lenses are thinner and lighter than a typical plastic prescription lens, and all come with a hard coating to prevent scratching. And our prescription lenses? They’re made of polycarbonate!