Choosing Glasses and Sunglasses

Choosing Glasses and Sunglasses

Years ago, glass was the only option available for lenses, but today a wide range of lens materials are available to match all lifestyles. In fact, less than six percent of glasses sold today are made of actual glass. Lens material selection will depend on teens’ level of activity, comfort, vision needs and the recommendation of their eye care provider. Explore the different options below:

Composite

Benefits: Varied materials; thin, durable lens

Composite lenses incorporate polycarbonate, Trivex®, and other ophthalmic materials.

Designed to accommodate most eyeglass wearers, lightweight composite lenses are compatible with most protective treatments, including no-glare, photochromic and scratch-resistant coatings.

Trivex® lenses are virtually weightless—an attractive quality for those who wear glasses all day long. They are similar to polycarbonate varieties in durability, but outperform the competition when it comes to clarity. They also block UVA and UVB rays, and hold up to abrasives, such as household cleaners.

Standard Plastic

Benefits: Lightweight, impact resistant, widely prescribed

Plastic lenses are much lighter than glass lenses and widely prescribed for their comfort, durability, and impact resistance. Many factors contribute to their popularity, including affordability, safety, and a myriad of design options.

A scratch-resistant coating can be applied to prevent unwanted scuffs and marks.

Mid-Index Plastic

Benefits: Light, slim; compatible with most treatments

Mid-index lenses are slimmer and lighter than standard plastic types. A variety of protective treatments can also be applied, including photochromic and no-glare coatings.

Slightly stronger prescriptions for farsightedness typically require a thicker lens. Mid-index lenses minimize thickness in these prescriptions and are generally more affordable than high-index plastic materials.

High-Index Plastic

Benefits: Thinner, lightweight lens for stronger prescriptions

Eyeglass wearers are no longer limited to thick, heavy glasses. High-index plastic lenses are slim and sleek, providing an alternative option for strong prescriptions.

High-index lenses are typically more expensive than standard plastic and mid-index varieties, but offer a wider choice of frames for people with stronger prescriptions, since the lenses are not bulky. Wearers benefit from a crisp, clear field of vision and comfort, even during prolonged use. When treated with a no-glare coating, high-index lenses sharpen sight considerably—especially at night.

Polycarbonate

Benefits: No-distortion, shatterproof lens for kids, active adults

Polycarbonate lenses are thinner and lighter than standard plastic varieties, and also much more durable. Polycarbonate is ideal for strong prescriptions because it corrects vision without adding thickness, which can distort the wearer’s appearance. Best of all, polycarbonate lenses are virtually unbreakable, making them a great choice for children and active adults.

High-Definition (HD)

Benefits: Digitally customized lenses for all prescriptions

HD, or digital lenses as they are also referred to, have been described as the most important improvement in prescription eyewear in the last 100 years. The improvement wearers see in moving from traditional lenses to digital lenses has been compared to the difference in using an old, analog television compared to a new high-definition television, or an early cell phone to today’s digital smart phones.  A recent study by the University of California at Berkeley confirmed consumer preference for HD lenses over conventional progressive lenses, in part because they reported being able to adapt faster to using the lenses and a wider field of vision when viewing objects nearby.

Unlike traditional lenses, HD lenses are manufactured using digital computer technology and diamond-cutting tools that allow the lenses’ surface to be customized to an individual’s eyes. High-definition lenses can deliver this unprecedented level of customized vision correction because the lenses are engineered based on a digital scan of the eyes. The resulting, customized vision correction improves unique vision problem areas and providers wearers with superior clarity, and sharper, brighter eyesight, whether they are nearsighted, farsighted, or have a mild astigmatism. The lenses are also thin and light, making them ideal for long wear, even with the strongest prescriptions. HD lenses are most common in progressive lenses, but they can also be made for single vision glasses. Most teens do not need HD glasses, as they are usually for progressives, but premium glasses can be made after a specialized eye exam.

Helping to further improve the lenses are various lens materials, treatments, and tints that can provide protection when playing sports, or enable eyes to experience more natural vision at all distances. This new technology also results in lenses that are smudge- and water-resistant, and that virtually eliminate glare.

Learn more about high-definition lenses here.

 

Lens Guide

Type

Features & Benefits

Recommended For:

No-Glare

  • Reduces glare
  • Lenses seem "invisible"
  • Eliminate halos and ghost images
  • Night driving
  • Computer users
  • High-index lens wearers
  • Seniors
  • Refractive surgery patients
  • Public speakers

High-Index Plastic Material

  • Lighter
  • Thinner
  • Scratch-resistant

 

  • Individuals with medium to high powered prescriptions

Photochromic

  • Block UV rays
  • Automatically darken and lighten when exposed to UV light
  • People with light sensitivity
  • Children
  • Drivers
  • Outdoor activities

Polarized

  • Eliminate all types of glare
  • Enhance contrast
  • Provide maximum UV protection
  • Driving in the sun
  • Outdoor activities

Polycarbonate, Polyurethane and Trivex

  • Impact­-resistant
  • Scratch-resistant
  • Thinner
  • Lighter
  • Children
  • Sports enthusiasts
  • Safety

Progressive

  • Provide natural vision at all distances
  • Improved cosmetics
  • Individuals over 40
  • Children who need bifocals

HD

  • Customized to the wearer's eye
  • Thin and lightweight
  • Adults, particularly those with unique problem areas