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Choosing the Right Glasses and Lenses

When it is time to purchase new glasses, it is easy to become overwhelmed with the many options for lenses. Choosing between different materials, coatings, upgrades, and even manufacturers can play a role in your overall satisfaction with your glasses, so it is important to fully understand the choices you are making.  Communicating with a knowledgeable optician is the best way to ensure you are picking the best options for you. Below is a guide outlining some of the lens options to consider for your next purchase. 

First Things First: Lenses and Materials

The material your lenses are made out of can impact the optics and effect the vision through your new glasses.  Basic lenses are typically made of a plastic called CR-39.  This lens is affordable and has minimal distortions but is not very durable or shatter-proof.  One of the most popular material choices is polycarbonate lenses, a strong and impact-resistant plastic that is more likely to withstand damage and scratches.  Polycarbonate lenses provide good optics, and their durability makes them the ideal choice for children or for safety glasses.  They also incorporate a UV coating to protect the eye from sun damage.  Like polycarbonate, trivex lenses are also made of a durable plastic that comes highly recommended for active kids.  For those who have strong prescriptions and wish to keep their lenses lightweight and thin, high-index lenses should be considered.  Lenses made of this material will minimize the thickness of the lenses and can improve cosmetic appearance and comfort.

Choosing the Right Coating or Lens Treatment for Your Glasses

There are many different treatments or coatings that can be added to your lenses.  Anti-reflective coating, also called AR or anti-glare, is one of the most widely recommended lens options.  This coating reduces reflections from both the front and back surface of the lenses, which can improve vision and comfort during tasks such as computer work and nighttime driving.  It also reduces glare from the lenses in pictures. Photochromatic lenses are another popular option; these are clear lenses that become darkly tinted when they are exposed to UV light.  Photochromatic lenses are a good option for those who wear glasses full time that do not want to be bothered with switching between clear glasses and prescription sunglasses.  While they are an efficient choice, they also have some limitations. Most photochromatic lenses will not transition to their tinted state in the car because the windows and windshield block too much of the UV rays.  Additionally, some versions of the lenses take a long time to transition back to clear lenses after returning inside on a sunny day. Besides AR and photochromatic lens coatings, blue-blocking lenses have become an increasingly popular option.  Blue-blocking lenses reduce eye strain associated with the use of digital screens, such as smartphones, tablets, or computers.  They reduce the exposure to high energy wavelengths emitted by these devices and can offer some protection to the eyes.  

Remember, a professional optician is a great tool to help you choose the glasses and lenses that are right for you.  If you are still confused or overwhelmed by your options, ask an optician for assistance the next time you visit Lilac Family Eye Care.