Whether you are wondering how to pick the right glasses frames or glasses lenses, various designs may suit your needs. From choosing your lens material to perusing different coatings, exploring your options before investing in a new pair can save you time and money. While you may be familiar with your prescription, perhaps you want to find out what exact lens type would work for your eyes. Here are four tips for choosing eyeglasses lenses that you should consider.
Tip One: Select the Type of Glasses Lens
Choosing the right glasses lenses begins with understanding the difference between each lens type. Many lens types assist with various eye conditions or needs, from single-vision glasses to multifocal lenses. Consider your eyesight and whether you are near- or farsighted before diving into the different lens types. Here are 10 types of glasses lenses and why they might be right for you
In general, single-vision lenses assist those who have trouble with either near or distance vision. Single-vision lenses, while common, can also help with specific eye conditions like astigmatism, myopia or hyperopia.
A single-vision distance lens helps those with nearsightedness correct their vision and look into far distances again. The lens will look like a concave or curved piece pushing inward, and the prescription is the same throughout the entire lens. Because single-vision lenses are meant to correct one field of vision, they also have the largest viewing area of all other lens types.
The single-vision distance lens may be for you if you struggle with nearsightedness.
Single-vision reading lenses help those with farsightedness see at a close distance. Unlike the single-vision distance lens, a reading lens has a convex shape and curves outward. The prescription remains the same throughout the entire lens and has a larger viewing area than other lens types.
If you want to correct your farsightedness, the single-vision reading lens may help you.
Progressive lenses use distance, middle and near vision correction throughout the lens. Many people appreciate that the progressive lens has no transition zone, visible divide or noticeable line between each part, unlike bifocal or trifocal lenses. However, you can still benefit from the progressive lens type as you would a bifocal lens. This lens is perfect for those needing a customizable lens option due to their unique eye type. It’s also great if you don’t want a pesky line between your glasses. The progressive lens will come with a distance prescription at the top and a reading prescription at the bottom, creating a seamless transition between each type so you can see at any distance.
If you need more than one prescription type, chances are you’ll require bifocal lenses. With two different abilities, these lenses are often prescribed by an eye doctor, as bifocal lenses could cause eye problems for those who don’t need them.
Bifocal lenses are divided into two zones — near vision and distance vision. Unlike progressive lenses, you can see a visible line that separates the two zones and splits them into sections. The upper part of the lens helps with distance vision and the lower with near vision, eliminating the need for you to buy both reading and distance glasses.
If you are someone who struggles with both your distance and reading vision, bifocals can help. Bifocals are also great for middle-aged or older people who might have eye conditions due to aging. If you need to focus more or are diagnosed with presbyopia, a condition that affects the lens of your eye, then bifocals could be for you.
Trifocal lenses are made of three parts — near, intermediate and distance vision. Those who use trifocal lenses typically have presbyopia or an inability to focus on the center of their vision, which can cause less flexibility in the lens of their eye.
Trifocals sit above the typical bifocal portion of the lens and use two visible lines to separate the zones. If you find yourself dealing with presbyopia, trifocal lenses may be what you need.
A kind of single-vision lens, toric lenses are made to correct astigmatism. Using a cylinder correction piece, toric lenses have more prescription power than typical single-vision lenses to help with the eye condition. If you have astigmatism and want lenses to correct it, a toric lens may be for you.
Prism lenses help correct an eye condition called heterophoria. This disorder causes the eyes to look in different directions when at rest and could result in eyes that move out of alignment, double vision or eye strain. Prism lenses also help correct strabismus, or crossed eyes.
If you have either of these eye conditions, consider getting a prism lens. The position and orientation of the lens will depend on your specific prescription and the direction of the thickest edge and base of the prism. Make sure you understand what refractive strength your condition may require, and have your eye doctor measure new lenses in prism diopters and base direction to ensure you get the right prescription you need.
Antifatigue lenses are a kind of single-vision prescription lens that helps you resist eye fatigue and strain. By using magnification at the bottom of the lens, the lower area of the prescription assists with near vision by helping to relax the eye muscle.
Antifatigue glasses may be suitable for those who often use digital devices or work closely with computers and phones.
Spherical lenses are meant to correct refractions in nearsighted or farsighted prescriptions. Spherical lenses help focus light in front or behind the retina, bringing the focal point toward the retina’s surface. If you have refractive errors in your sight, consider using spherical lens types.
Cylindrical lenses correct astigmatism by focusing light onto multiple areas in the eye. By correcting the cornea’s curvature, the lenses can help you adequately focus and correct astigmatism. Consider using cylindrical lens types if you have this eye condition.
Tip Two: Choose the Type of Lens Coatings
You’ll also want to consider the type of lens coating that may be right for you. From scratch-resistant coatings to tints and UV-resistant lenses, there are various coatings to suit your specific needs. Here are a few areas to consider when choosing the type of coating you want.
What Resistant Coatings To Consider
The most common coating to consider is anti-scratch, which reduces scratches or abrasions caused by everyday wear and tear. Keep in mind that if you own lightweight glasses, they may be more prone to scratches than other glasses types. If you want a coating that will help protect your glasses long term, consider investing in lenses with scratch resistance that can make them more durable.
You could also try an anti-reflective coating. This kind of coating helps protect your eyes from harmful glares or reflections while enhancing color contrast and visual clarity. Many people enjoy that anti-reflective lenses make their glasses less visible, allowing them to make better eye contact with peers and have fewer glare spots in photos. You might want to consider an anti-reflective coating to combat the light if you have high-index lenses or lenses with a highly reflective component.
The last resistant coating you can try is anti-fog coating. With the ability to prevent foggy lenses in cold or hot weather, this lens type could be best for you if you often find yourself with foggy lenses.
What Tints to Consider
Lens tints offer various ways to add color or light-adjusting elements to your glasses. Several tints may be right for you, whether you want sunglasses or lenses that change according to your location.
Light-adjusting lenses, also called photochromic lenses, adjust their tint depending on light exposure. They become darker outside and clearer inside while also protecting your eyes from UV rays and sunlight. While this kind of tint may not apply to sunglasses, you can get light-adjusting lenses in your prescription and save money by using them as both glasses and sunglasses.
These kinds of lenses are great if you work a job that requires you to go inside and outside frequently or if you are concerned about eye protection when outdoors.
Color-tinted lenses are another great way to spice up your glasses. While many like to color their lenses for fashion purposes, you can also tint them to help with migraines or blue light exposure. With various color options, you’ll enjoy tinted lenses for their stylishness.
Gradient tint lenses are often used for sunglasses, with a dark color on top that gets lighter toward the bottom. If you want sunglasses that protect against the sun and offer added privacy, consider adding gradient tints to your glasses.
Polarized coated lenses help reduce glare from light while making colors and contrasts around you brighter and clearer. Polarized lenses are a great option if you spend a lot of time outdoors biking, traveling or hanging near bodies of water. While reducing distracting reflections that could cause dangers when traveling long distances, polarized coatings also come in various color options.
Mirror-tinted lenses are often used for sunglasses and help protect your eyes from bright light by being reflective. If you want to protect your eyes or are looking for a fun and fashionable tint option, try using mirror-tinted lenses. They are also a good choice for athletes exposed to bright sunlight during practices or games.
When to Use Water-Repellant or Hydrophobic Lenses
Look for water-repellant or hydrophobic lenses if you want lenses that repel water. As large droplets of water can leave smudges or dirt, water-resistant lenses help keep your glasses clean and clear at all times. For those who live or work in rainy areas or around bodies of water, consider investing in hydrophobic lenses to protect your glasses for extended periods.
When to Use UV Protective Lenses
Blocking harmful UV rays is essential to protecting the eyes from light overexposure and age-related eye conditions like cataracts or macular degeneration. For those who want to protect their eyes, many doctors recommend you get UV protective lenses as early in life as possible.
When to Use Blue Light Filtering Lenses
Consider adding a blue light lens to your glasses if you use screens a lot. The lens filters blue light from electronics like computers or phones while helping you sleep better and reducing eye strain. The average American spends more than 7 hours a day looking at screens, so more people have turned to blue light lenses to protect their eyes.
If you use screens for work or personal use, you may want to consider investing in blue light lenses. Extended screen time without blue light lenses could cause eye fatigue, eye dryness, headaches or an inability to focus.
Tip Three: Choose the Type of Lens Material
Another feature to consider is the type of lens material you want. From plastic types to modern polycarbonate, the type of material you choose may impact the quality of your glasses. Here are the five most common types of lens materials you could use.
Plastic: Early plastic glasses lenses were made during the 1940s. The plastic was called CR-39, with material lighter than glass lenses and less costly than other types. With great optical features and high impact resistance, the plastic lens type is one of the most popular lens materials today.
Polycarbonate: Polycarbonate lenses were developed around the 1970s, often used in children’s, safety and sports glasses. These lenses have become very popular due to their lightweight, impact-resistant nature.
Glass: Most lenses consisted of glass before the invention of plastic and polycarbonate. Keep in mind that this material is usually not as available as the other options and could lead to breakage, cracks or eye injuries.
Trivex: Trivex lenses are a new kind of impact-resistant and light material developed in 2001. Many people use these lenses instead of polycarbonate ones due to their lighter weight.
High index: High index lenses use more refraction than other lens types. They also take inspiration from aspheric designs, where the lens comes with thinner and lighter features.
Tip Four: Choose Between Types of Lens Features
The fourth and final tip on how to choose prescription glasses involves selecting various lens features. After you’ve explored materials, types and coatings, you can look at areas such as the index of refraction or the possibility of aspheric design. Here are four features you might want to consider before buying new lenses.
The lens index, also called the index of refraction, measures how well the lens material bends and refracts light. The higher the number, the slower the light will move, and the more light will bend. A higher lens index number can also handle more powerful prescriptions should you need something more substantial.
Prescriptions within the lens index fall between 1.5 and 1.74. Some examples of numbers that indicate the index of refraction include the following:
1.5 index: This index offers a standard lens with a weaker prescription and is often used if you need basic vision help.
1.57 index: A thinner and lighter lens, the 1.57 index has a stronger prescription and thinner features.
1.59 index: Many lenses on the 1.59 index are made of polycarbonate or durable, impact-resistant materials. People often use these lenses for their children or for sportswear.
1.6 index: Lenses on the 1.6 index are very thin and used by people who need strong prescriptions.
1.67 index: A very light and thin lens, the 1.67 index keeps the eyes from looking distorted and provides a strong prescription.
1.74 index: Designed for the highest and most powerful prescription, the 1.74 index has the thinnest possible lens.
The abbe value determines the amount of chromatic aberration your lens produces. If your lens has an optical error, you may notice colorful beams or halos around lighting fixtures.
In some cases, the aberrations may only be seen through your peripheral vision and less noticeable through the center of your glasses. Many abbe value numbers range from a high of 59, which applies to glass lenses, to a low of 30, which could apply to polycarbonate. The lower the abbe value, the less likely you are to see aberrations.
Whenever you change your lenses, check out the abbe value to avoid pesky aberrations, reflections and distracting lights in your vision.
Some people look for lenses with an aspheric design, meaning the lens will have a curved shape that gradually changes from the center to the edge. The effect is intended to slim a person’s face and create a more attractive side profile. When lenses are made with an aspheric design, the manufacturer will use flatter curves to fabricate the new glasses.
Because the angles are flatter than with other forms of glasses, the eyes tend to look more natural. Adding less magnification can also help improve the wearer’s peripheral vision.
Center and Edge Thickness
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has set guidelines for glasses’ impact resistance and limits on how thin glasses can be. Due to these restrictions, the thinnest part of the lens is often the center, which is used to correct nearsightedness. For glasses that correct farsightedness, the lens’s thinnest part is often the edge. Whichever condition you need to correct, keep in mind that many companies may have to follow regulations on how the size and shape of the lens can look.
While the lens thickness may be noticeable if you have a stronger eyeglass prescription, there are ways to distract from the thickness should you want a more discreet design. You can choose small and centered frames to help reduce the apparent thickness and weight of the lenses.
Find Replacement Lens Services at Lensabl
Whenever you need new lenses, you can easily find the right solution even from the comfort of your home with us. At Lensabl, our reliable lens replacement services offer various lens materials, types and features to fit your exact needs. With our Lensabl+ plan, you can find the best benefits if you regularly need new eyeglasses or lenses.
Consider using our vision benefits services if you want to protect your eyewear in the future. You can also enjoy perks like one prescription lens replacement per year and online vision testing for prescription renewal.
Lensabl is dedicated to providing accessible and affordable vision products for you and your family. Whether you’re looking for a polycarbonate lens material or a blue light filtering lens to block out harmful light, Lensabl can help you find the perfect replacement lens for your prescription. Contact us today to speak to a representative, or call us at 1-800-984-5367.