Do you need a new pair of glasses? Whether your prescription has changed or you’re getting your first pair, it helps to know a little bit about glasses lens materials before you go to the eye doctor.
Eyeglass lenses come in a variety of materials that have their own unique features and benefits. They also vary in cost. If you’re trying to decide what type would be best for you, consider the following information.
Types of Eyeglass Lens Materials
The following are all types of eyeglass lens materials. Some are more commonly used than others for various reasons.
- Glass. The first eyeglass lenses were made of glass, which is how they got their name. Glass lenses are rarely used anymore because there are too many disadvantages to them. For one, they are very heavy, making them significantly less comfortable than other newer materials. Glass is also highly prone to breaking and shattering, which is not only inconvenient, but a safety hazard.
- Plastic. Eyeglass lens technology eventually evolved into the use of plastic in the 1940s. Early plastic lenses were much lighter and more durable than glass lenses, making them highly preferred by glasses wearers. Plastic lenses are still widely used today.
- Polycarbonate. First introduced in the 1970s, polycarbonate eyeglass lenses were used primarily for safety glasses and sport eyewear. Polycarbonate lenses are lightweight and highly resistant to impact, which makes them extremely safe for use by athletes and industrial workers. Polycarbonate is also widely used for children’s glasses due the durability and shatter resistance.
- Trivex. Trivex has many of the same qualities as polycarbonate, with a few variances. Trivex is just as impact resistant as polycarbonate, but the major advantage is in the optics. Trivex lenses provide slightly better vision than polycarbonate, which is why it is more widely used in everyday wear glasses.
- High-index plastic. Advancements in the design and makeup of plastic lenses led to high-index plastic lenses. The main advantage of high-index lenses is that they are significantly thinner and lighter than traditional plastic lenses. They fit better into glasses frames and offer an improved appearance, especially for eyeglass wearers with the need for a higher prescription.
Which Type is Best?
There is not necessarily a one-size-fits-all approach to eyeglass lenses. There are many factors to take into consideration, such as:
- Cost. If cost is a concern, you may wish to avoid the higher cost of high-index plastic frames. They are thinner and lighter, but tend to cost significantly more than regular plastic or other materials.
- Prescription. The more refraction you need, as in a higher prescription, the thicker your lenses will be. If thick lenses are a concern for you, consider choosing the high-index plastic lenses.
- Frame style. If you want a certain style of frame, the type of lens material could be a factor. You can discuss your options with your optician when you choose frames.
- Age. Young children should have durable lenses that are very unlikely to break. Adults may be able to choose from a wider variety of types of lenses, depending on your lifestyle.
- Lifestyle. Your lifestyle may affect the type of eyeglass lenses you need. If you’re highly active, play sports, work in an industrial setting, or are in any way at a higher risk of damage to your glasses, be sure to choose lenses that are highly impact resistant.
Andrews Eyecare Center Provides a Variety of Eyeglass Lens Options
If you’re not sure what type of glasses lenses would be best for you, Andrews Eyecare Center can help. After assessing your eyes and determining your prescription, we can discuss the various options available and recommend the best type for your preferences and lifestyle. Glasses should be a help, not a hindrance in your life. Choosing the right lenses can make all the difference.