Not sure which type of lenses are best for you? With standard plastic, progressives, bifocals, and so much more, it can be hard to understand the differences and benefits of each type of lens. We’ve made it easy with our Lens 101 guide providing just what you need to know about all the options in lens materials and types.
- Standard Plastic: Available in a variety of design options, standard plastic lenses are widely prescribed for their comfort, durability, affordability, and lightweight. A scratch-resistant coating can be applied to prevent unwanted scuffs and marks. UV protection can be added.
- Mid-Index Plastic: Slimmer and lighter than standard plastic lenses, mid-index lenses minimize thickness for stronger prescriptions and are compatible with most treatments. A variety of protective treatments, including photochromic and anti-reflective coatings can be applied.
- Polycarbonate: Virtually unbreakable, polycarbonate lenses are an excellent choice for kids and active adults, as well as those with strong prescriptions. These shatterproof, non-distorting lenses are thinner and lighter than standard plastic lenses.
- Hi-Index Plastic: Typically more expensive than standard plastic and mid-index varieties, hi-index plastic lenses provide comfort and a crisp, clear field of vision, even during prolonged use. When treated with a no-glare coating, they sharpen sight considerably (especially at night). These thinner, lightweight lenses are ideal for stronger prescriptions.
- Single Vision: Single vision lenses are the same throughout, correcting one viewing area—whether it be distance, intermediate, or near vision. These lenses can also be used to correct astigmatism.
- Progressives: As you age, you may gradually lose the ability to focus your eyes on close work, which is known as presbyopia. Progressives are multifocal lenses that have many areas of focus and can be used for distance, intermediate, and near vision, depending on where you look in the lens. Progressive lenses have no lines across the lens, no sudden shift or jump in vision, and no stigma (which can be an issue with lined bifocals).
- Bifocals: If you’re struggling to read up-close (presbyopia) but are already wearing prescription glasses, you may need bifocals. Unlike progressives, bifocals contain a line, and they typically provide a wider viewing area for near vision. The bottom portion of the lens corrects near vision, and the rest of the lens can correct distance or intermediate sight issues.
- Photochromic Lenses: Photochromic or light-responsive lenses darken upon exposure to more intense light, most commonly ultraviolet (UV) radiation. In the absence of activating light, the lenses return to their clear state. Compatible with the most popular frame styles, these lenses offer comfort, convenience, and protections from harmful UVA and UVB rays.
- PureSight Technology: An anti-reflective coating, PureSight Technology provides unsurpassed visual clarity, safety, and cosmetics. It eliminates annoying lens reflection and reduces eyestrain from glare, especially during computer work and nighttime driving. Providing a more durable surface, this coating also resists scratches and even dirt and smudges.
- UV Protection: Like sunscreen for your eyes, this coating prevents harmful UVA and UVB rays from damaging your vision.
- Hard Coat + Lens Warranty: Either through accidents or just normal wear and tear, all lens materials can eventually become scratched. Hard Coat is a scratch-resistant coating placed on the lens to reduce accidental scratching and protect from normal wear. It also includes a two-year lens warranty and unlimited replacement for a 20% copay of retail charge.
- Tint: Tinted or colored lenses reduce glare, while adding cosmetic appeal. They can be used to make sunglasses and are recommended for driving, outdoor activities, and computer use. Note that they can alter certain colors you see.
- Roll & Polish: To make the lens appear thinner, a portion of it is ground off in the Roll & Polish option. This is recommended for rimless frames and high prescriptions.
- Polarized: Ideal for outdoor activities, polarized lenses greatly reduce glare from surfaces like water, glass, snow, and asphalt, which reduces eye fatigue and increases visibility. These lenses are recommended for driving, fishing, snow skiing, and other sports. Keep in mind they may alter visibility of images on LCD screens.