If you are getting a new pair of glasses, you may be wondering which lenses you should select. Choosing the right lenses for your needs can greatly impact your vision. Whether you are nearsighted or far-sighted or have other needs, you have many lens options to choose from.
With such a selection of materials, designs, features and benefits, you may not know where to begin to determine which lenses could be the right ones for you. Use this guide of different lens options on the market today to make the best lens choice.
What to Consider Before Choosing Lenses
Not all lenses are created equally, and so not all lenses will be the ideal option for your preferences. When considering which lenses are best for your individual needs, consider four important factors:
Let’s explore the different lens materials, treatments and other options for a better understanding of how they differ from one another.
Types of Lens Materials
Lenses come in an array of materials, all with their own set of benefits. Explore them in more detail below:
Glass lenses provide some of the best optics. However, they can be heavy and easy to break. In the early years of vision correction, all glasses were made with glass lenses. Now, glass lenses have since been substituted for safer, more substantial materials.
Plastic lenses were created in the 1940s and provided an exceptional alternative to glass. Only half of the weight of glass lenses, plastic lenses are generally inexpensive and offer fantastic optics. They also break less easily, making them durable enough for various applications.
First introduced in the 1970s, polycarbonate lenses have become increasingly popular over the years. Even lighter than plastic lenses and with a higher impact resistance, polycarbonate lenses make an ideal choice for children’s glasses and safety glasses that may sustain significant wear and tear. You can also get them with built-in UV protection.
Designed from a plastic similar to polycarbonate, Trivex lenses were developed in 2001. They are thinner and more lightweight compared to polycarbonate lenses and are also more impact-resistant. Trivex lenses can have slightly more beneficial vision qualities for some individuals.
High-index plastic lenses are ideal for people with strong prescriptions, due to their higher index of refraction and aspheric lens options. They are also considerably slimmer and more lightweight than plastic lenses, making them an appealing choice for many.
Lens Prescription Types
From single vision lenses to progressive lenses and everything in between, there are numerous types of prescription lenses available for enhancing your vision.
These offer the largest field of vision. People who are solely nearsighted or farsighted or have astigmatism will typically be prescribed single vision lenses. This kind is the cheapest and most common because they only correct vision at one particular distance.
Classified as “multifocal” lenses, bifocals are created with two different “powers” to assist those with multiple vision problems. Made with two different sections, these lenses correct nearsightedness and far-sightedness in a single pair of glasses.
These lenses are similar to bifocals in their purpose. However, they have an extra section that bifocals do not. While bifocals have only far-sighted and nearsighted prescriptions, trifocals also contain a prescription to correct intermediate vision. This portion of the lens is best for looking at objects within arm’s reach, like computer screens.
Progressive lenses make an excellent alternative for those who have issues adjusting to bifocals or trifocals. They provide the same vision correction benefits, but they do not have a line between the sections. That makes transitioning between prescriptions easier to adjust to.
Prism lenses are prescribed for those with severe binocular issues, such as the eyes not looking in the same direction when at rest. People who experience double vision may also use these. Prism lenses do not correct refractive issues. However, they trick the eye into believing an object is in a different location to promote eye alignment. Prism lenses are only a temporary solution to correcting conditions like Binocular Vision Dysfunction.
Different lenses also come with their own unique features. Some may help with the lens’ overall appearance, and others provide more specific advantages.
Your vision needs will determine the lens shape you need. Nearsighted individuals need concave lenses, which curve inward. Farsighted individuals will need convex lenses, which curve outward. If you have astigmatism, your lenses will be cylindrical. Depending on the lens shape, the lens will focus light onto your retina in a certain way, which helps you see best and fits your vision needs.
Aspheric lenses are fantastic for people with strong prescriptions. They have various degrees of curvature, meaning they can be thinner and flatter. This design allows a much larger portion of the lens surface to be used. The lens’ curvature changes gradually from its center to its edge and can often reduce unwanted magnification of the eyes. This type can also improve your peripheral vision.
Index of Refraction
The index of refraction, also known as the refractive index, indicates how well the lens material bends light. The higher the refractive index, the slower the light moves through the lens. That means less material is required to bend light compared to a lens type with a lower refractive index. Lenses containing a material with a high refractive index will be thinner than those made with a low-refractive-index material.
Optical errors that cause color halos around lights are referred to as chromatic aberrations. The Abbe value determines how much chromatic aberration is produced by lens materials. Lenses made with materials that have a low Abbe value produce more noticeable chromatic aberrations, while materials with high Abbe values produce fewer effects of chromatic aberration.
This feature enables lenses to transition from clear to tinted in the sunlight. Photochromatic lenses eliminate the need for a separate pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV rays. Plus, you can still enjoy clear vision while out in the sun.
Polarized lenses, especially those for sports and driving, are ideal for reducing glare. However, keep in mind that cars with LCDs on their dashboards may be difficult to see with polarized lenses.
Center and Edge Thickness
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has established guidelines for the impact resistance of eyeglass lenses. This regulation is why different lens materials result in different thicknesses.
The lens material and the size and shape of your eyeglass frames determine the thickness of your lenses. Choosing a smaller frame can help reduce the thickness and weight of your lenses, making this option a good choice for those with stronger prescriptions.
Various Lens Coating Types and Treatments
Numerous treatments and coatings are available to enhance your glasses lenses. Anti-reflective coatings, UV protection coatings, tinting and more help you further personalize your lenses to best suit your needs.
When this coating is applied to your lenses, it increases their durability. Scratch-resistant coatings, also known as scratch coats or hard coats, help lenses last longer than those without this feature. Most lenses already have scratch-resistance coatings built in their design. Plastic, polycarbonate, Trivex and high-index plastic lenses are all created with a factory coating. However, adding this coating is always an option for materials that do not already come with this treatment.
Switching from cold to warm climates and vice versa can cause instantly foggy glasses. Having an anti-fog coating applied to your lenses reduces this issue. You can choose permanent anti-fog treatments for your lenses, or you can purchase weekly drops to treat your lenses as needed whenever you’re in inclement weather.
We all know the sun’s rays can be harmful to the skin, but they can be detrimental to your eyes as well. UV radiation has been linked to issues such as cataracts and macular degeneration. Adding a UV-blocking treatment to your glasses can greatly reduce the amount of UV rays that reach your eyes, giving you added protection against the sun.
You can have your lenses tinted to help improve their vision quality. Sometimes all it takes is a light or dark tint to greatly enhance your lenses’ vision abilities. For example, a yellow tint can help improve contrast.
Blue-Light Blocking Treatment
Blue-light treatments are becoming increasingly popular, especially for those who spend a lot of time in front of their computers. This treatment helps prevent digitally induced eye strain and can even help improve sleep schedules by reducing the amount of blue light your eyes receive.
Adding a mirror coating to your lenses is for more than just the aesthetic appeal. This coating can also help improve visual comfort under conditions with extreme light.
This coating helps eliminate reflections in your lenses that contribute to reduced vision contrast and clarity. This coating is particularly handy for those who have issues with glare when driving at night or people who use lighted screens. Additionally, this lens feature can help make your lenses look near invisible, which means better eye contact with others and no glare spots in photographs.
Choosing the Right Frames
Selecting the right frames is just as important as selecting the appropriate lenses. The pair you choose should be comfortable enough for long-term wear and efficient enough for your daily needs. Plus, it should also express your personal style. Explore some of the different frames on the market to decide which could be right for you.
There are two different kinds of materials available for glasses frames: metal and plastic. Each comes with its own set of pros and cons.
Plastic frames can consist of different types of plastics, including zylonite, nylon blends and castor seed oil. You can find them in various colors. Some are hypoallergenic, and many come with an economical price tag. However, they tend to be less durable than metal, and the color of the plastic can fade over time.
Metal frames are often made from numerous metals such as:
- Stainless steel.
Metal glasses can cost the same as plastic or be considerably more based on the materials used. Sometimes they are double or triple in price compared to plastic. Metal frames are quite durable, lightweight and resistant to corrosion. However, they may not be the best option for those with skin sensitivities, and there are fewer colors to choose from.
Frames are designed in three different types, each varying in style. See which frames could be the best option for you:
- Full frame: This type of frame completely outlines the entire lens and provides the most durability. If you have a strong prescription, full frames make a great option for thick lenses.
- Semi-rimless frame: Semi-rimless frames only outline the top part of your lenses. They are considerably lighter and more comfortable to wear. However, they also expose the bottom portion of the lenses to chipping and cracking risks.
- Rimless frame: More delicate than the other frames, rimless frames provide the largest field of vision. They are also the most lightweight option.
Since glasses have become a modern accessory right along with purses and belts, glasses frames can be found in a wide range of selections to help you express your personal style. Even influential fashion icons such as Marc Jacobs and Kate Spade have created stylish frames.
How Much Do Eyeglass Lenses Cost?
The cost of your eyeglass lenses will be just as unique as your needs. Considering the different types of lenses, materials and treatments available, your lenses could be affordable or more on the pricey side. Your visual needs, style preferences and contribution from any vision benefits will play a big part in the cost.
Let’s say you choose a pair of designer frames for aspheric, high-index progressive lenses with an anti-reflective coating. For glasses of this type, it would not be uncommon for your costs to be approximately $800 or more from some glasses companies.
However, a pair of child’s glasses with polycarbonate lenses will generally be considerably less expensive (around $200) and will typically come with a scratch-resistant warranty.
Choosing the best lenses for your needs while receiving the best value can be tricky. Consult with the reputable opticians at Lensabl for professional guidance on making the best selection for your vision requirements.
Lensabl Has the Right Lenses for You
At Lensabl, we are dedicated to providing you with superior-quality eye care services from the comfort of your home. We can save you an average of 70% compared to when you visit a physical optician’s office. From designer frames and lens replacements to contact lenses, we offer our vision products at a cheaper cost with the luxury of at-home convenience. Lensabl offers an array of lens replacement and glasses options, including:
- Single vision lenses.
- High-index lenses.
- Reading glasses.
- Prescription and non-prescription sunglasses.
- Transition lenses.
- And so many more.
If you are ready to order your next pair of glasses, contact us today to speak with one of our professionally trained lens experts and find the right lenses.