When choosing a new pair of glasses, the tendency of most is to start analyzing and comparing the various styles. And understandably so— glasses essentially become an additional facial feature. Why wouldn’t one put thought into their new permanent accessory?!
But there are other extremely important aspects to consider upon purchasing your next pair of eyes, and they all revolve around the lens. While deciding how the world will see you should involve some deliberation and attention, how much more so should you put thought into how you will see the world?…
Here is a summary of things to consider as you check out what your optical department has to offer…
1. Lens Material. Your basic choices for lens material are going to be glass, standard plastic, impact resistant plastic, and high index plastic.
- Glass is the least popular due to the weight of the material. In addition, there is the safety risk of it breaking. However, glass is naturally very scratch resistant.
- Standard plastic has the advantage of being inexpensive, but is thicker, heavier, and less impact resistant than other plastics.
- Impact resistant plastics are thinner, lighter, and stronger than standard plastic. While it is slightly more expensive, it offers great built in UV-protection.
- High index plastic is the thinnest and lightest plastic available- but also has the highest price tag. It is suited for individuals with very high prescriptions.
The majority of vision patients will benefit the most from an impact resistant plastic, such as trivex or polycarbonate, as they offer the best combination of price and features.
2. Coating and Tinting Options.
Glare-free coatings are a highly recommended add-on to spectacle lenses because they greatly reduce reflections and glare, enhance the quality of vision, as well as improving the cosmetic appearance. In the past, glare-free coatings were notorious for smudging easily and had poor durability. Newer coatings, though, have greatly improved and some even include up to two-year unlimited warranties against scratching or peeling.
Another common option is photochromic lenses (this includes transitions and photogrey), which automatically change to a darker tint in the sun and return back to almost no tint indoors. The obvious advantage of these lenses is that they allow the wearer to have one pair of glasses, versus keeping sunglasses on hand at all times. One complaint associated with photochromic lenses is that they do not darken as well when inside of a vehicle.
3. Prescription Options. A common situation vision patients run into is that they require a stronger prescription lens for reading than they do for seeing at a distance. Some solve this problem by purchasing over-the-counter reading glasses, and keep them on hand for when they need them. The advantage to this is that they are inexpensive, but the biggest offset is that many find themselves asking, multiple times per day, “Where are my reading glasses?!”
Others prefer lined bifocal glasses, which have a small segment in the bottom of the lens containing “reading power”, while the rest of their lens functions for distance vision. This is the middle-of-the-road option, concerning price, but some would argue the visible line on the glasses are a disadvantage, both cosmetically and functionally.
Yet another option are no-line progressive lenses, which have distance prescription in the top of the lens, and gradually increase in power as you look down through the lens. These have the advantage of focusing at all distances, and they are unarguably the most modern, yet most expensive, option.
As you can see, choosing the right pair for you involves much more than matching your face shape and personal style. Glasses’ prescriptions should be catered to each patient’s individual needs and lifestyle. Make a trip to your local eye doctor to learn more and to discuss which lens may be suited for your specific needs.