Choosing Eyeglass Lenses

Most people associate selecting eyeglasses with picking the frame they like best. But what do you know about the most important part of your eyeglasses—the lens?

While your eye care provider will be there to make a recommendation and fully explain your options, it is in your best interest to know what products are out there. Let’s take a look:

Type of Lenses

  • Single Vision Lenses
    • Single Vision Lenses accommodate one type of correction, such as farsightedness or nearsightedness (but not both at the same time). The lens has the same correction throughout the lens and is determined by your eye care provider during your exam.
  • Bifocals
    • Bifocal lenses contain two prescriptions in one lens to help improve vision up-close and at a distance. A thin, visible, line divides the two prescriptions, creating segments. The lower segment corrects vision up-close, and the top segment corrects vision at a distance.
  • Trifocals
    • Like bifocals, trifocals have segments that improve vision at different distances. The top segment corrects vision at a distance, the middle segment corrects intermediate (arm’s length) vision, and the lowest segment corrects vision up-close.
  • Progressive Lenses
    • Progressive Lenses correct multiple points of vision, without defined segments. The lens is seamless and can help eliminate the “jump” from one segment to another. Progressive wearers can see objects up-close, at arm’s length or at a distance without noticeable transition.
  • Anti-Fatigue Lenses
    • A single vision lens optimized to relieve visual fatigue symptoms such as headaches, eye strain and blurred vision which may result from extended use of digital devices.
  • Occupational/Computer Lenses
    • An occupational lens is a design in prescription eyewear that allows the wearer to view all working distances, side to side, up and down, within a conventional working distance, or small environment.A working distance typical to many occupations will fall somewhere between ten to thirteen feet, respectively.Different than a progressive addition lens, this variable design begins with the full reading prescription at the bottom of the lens, and weakens, for mid-range vision, as the eyes rotate upward.

Lens Materials

For decades, glass lenses were the only option for eyeglasses. Today, less than six percent of glasses sold are made with glass lenses. The lens material your eye care provider suggests will depend on your level of activity, comfort and visual needs.

  • Plastic
    • Plastic lenses are lightweight, durable and impact resistant. In addition to being an affordable option, they are also popular because of the wide variety of design options.
  • High-Index Plastic
    • High-index plastic can be the way to go for those with stronger prescriptions. They are lightweight and slim. High-index lenses have built-in UV protection, but can be slightly more expensive than a standard plastic lens.
  • Polycarbonate
    • Polycarbonate lenses are great for kids and active adults, as they are incredibly durable. These lenses are thin, lightweight and can also be a great option for those with stronger prescriptions. Like high-index plastic lenses, polycarbonate lenses have built-in UV protection.
  • Trivex
    • Although slightly less thin (about 10%) than polycarbonate, these lenses are thin, lightweight and offer much more impact resistance than plastic or glass lenses. Trivex lenses also have the advantage of better optics than polycarbonate lenses while offering the same safety benefits.

Lens Treatments

Lenses can be enhanced with different treatments during the manufacturing process. These treatments can help protect your eyes, enhance your vision and increase comfort.

  • Anti-Reflective Coatings
    • Helps reduce glare and halos around lights at night and eliminates unattractive reflections on your lenses.
  • Photochromic
    • Photochromic lenses are clear (or nearly clear) indoors and darken automatically outdoors for comfort and UV protection.
  • Polarization
    • The ultimate in sun protection. Reduces glare from water, snow, and glass.
  • Scratch-Resistant
    • A protective treatment to help prevent scratches
  • UV Protection
    • Helps protect eyes from UV rays
  • Blue light Protection
    • Protects eyes from harmful blue light which comes from many sources including: Fluorescent light, CFL (compact fluorescent light) bulbs, LED light, flat screen LED televisions, computer monitors, smart phones, and tablet screens

Consult your eye care provider if you have specific questions regarding the type of lens, material and treatment you should select.

The information contained above is intended to be educational in nature, does not constitute medical advice, and should not be relied on as a substitute for actual professional medical advice, care or treatment. If you have any vision, dental or other health related concerns, VBA encourages you to immediately contact your optometrist/ophthalmologist, dentist/orthodontist or any other competent, licensed, medical professional.