How to Choose the Best Lenses for Your Glasses

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When choosing the best lenses for your glasses, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. The lenses in a pair of glasses are just an unique as the wearer. That’s why figuring out how to choose the best lenses for your glasses can sometimes be difficult.

Although there isn’t a universal answer, today’s article will show you three main things to focus on when choosing the best lenses for your glasses. These factors are:

  • Lens Material: what’s used to make your lenses.
  • Len Functionality: what you need your lenses to do for your eyes.
  • Lens Coatings and Treatments: the “extras” for your lenses and why you may want them.

We hope this article helps you find the best lenses for your glasses. If you have any questions, please contact us and we’ll be happy to help. Enjoy the article!

Lens Materials

The lenses in glasses aren’t made from actual glass anymore. Here are popular lens materials for glasses and why they’re used:

CR-39 Plastic – From the 1940’s and all the way to today, this cheap plastic polymer was made by the Armorlite Lens Company. There made from Columbia Resin 39, a thermal-cured plastic. CR-39 plastic is cheap and lends itself well to optic applications. However, these lenses are thicker than lenses made from more modern materials.

Polycarbonate – This lens material was developed in the 1970’s as the next viable alternative to glass lenses. It’s durable and impact-resistant. That’s perfect for the everyday wear-and-tear associated with wearing glasses.

High-Index Plastics – These incredibly thin and lightweight lenses are used in the smallest, lightest glasses on the market. They often have an aspherical surface and provide UV protection. These lens materials are best used in smaller frames. They’re also ideal for lenses with stronger prescriptions. When selecting your lens material, you need to consider the material’s refractive index and Abbe value.

Refractive Index – The measurement of how well the lenses refracts light and how easily the light passes through the surface. Generally, this affects the final thickness of your lenses. CR-39 plastics have a lower refractive rating and thicker lenses, while polycarbonate lenses are much thinner with a higher rating.

Abbe value / Abbe number – The measurement of how a material handles chromatic aberration, or the distortion of colors and shapes as a result of intense light. A lower Abbe value means the lenses handle these irregularities better.

Lens Functionality

What is the purpose of your glasses? Are you using them all the time or just for certain activities – like reading or driving? Will you wear them indoors, outdoors or both? Will you wear them mainly during the night or the day?

Ask yourself questions like these to determine the functionality of your glasses, and thereby your lenses. Here’s some more things to consider while you figure out what you need your glasses to do:

Type of Vision Issues – Nearsighted? A concave lens is likely in order. Farsighted? You’ll need convex lenses that curve outward. If you have an astigmatism, your lenses will be a uniquely shaped cylinder that’s custom suited for your eyes. Only your optometrist can give you professional guidance with what shape lenses you need to correct your vision issues.

Bifocals / Trifocals – Some people need a different strength prescription to see at a distance, another one for seeing up close and a third for seeing at an immediate range. Bifocal and trifocal lenses allow the user multiple levels of vision assistance at different focal lengths.

Environment – Do you use your glasses mostly when you’re on the computer? You might consider a set of blue light filtering lenses to decrease the strain on your eyes. If you’re going to be outdoors with your glasses, UV protection or reflection (aka sunglasses) may be an ideal lens choice. Progressive lenses that adapt for changes in light conditions can be useful for keeping your eyes rested yet alert. Consider your environment while determining your lens functionality.

Lens Coating and Lens Treatments

There are many lens coatings and lens treatments that you can opt for when choosing the best lenses for your glasses. Here are some common coatings and treatments and why you might choose them for your lenses:

Anti-Scratch – A valuable upgrade that protects your lenses from becoming ruined by scratches. Anti-scratch coating comes included with most plastic and polycarbonate lenses on the market.

Anti-reflective – This feature is commonly included with high-index plastic lenses or lenses that will be used outdoors or in night time driving. Anti-reflective lenses reduce distracting flares caused from the sun and intense light sources.

Ultra-violet (UV) Protection – All glasses come with some UV protection. The lenses in sunglasses are designed to block out most all UV light, while progressive aperture, photochromic lenses adjust accordingly. Extra UV protection lens coatings are a good idea for people with cataracts.

Blue-light blocking – Special lenses used to filter out the “blue” light temperature that’s found in electronics, computer screens and etc.

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