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A Simple Guide to Eyeglass Lens Coatings

What are eyeglass lens coatings, and do you need them?

After picking out frames and the type of lenses you want for your new eyeglasses, you should decide if a lens coating is right for you. Eyeglass lens coatings can enhance lens (and eye) performance and can add to the appearance of your new lenses. Here are seven different types of lens coatings and treatments you should consider when purchasing new eyeglasses. 

Seven Types of Lens Coatings to Consider when Purchasing Eyeglasses 

Anti-Reflective Coating

Anti-reflective coating (also called AR coating or anti-glare coating) is a thin coating that eliminates reflections and glare from the front and back surfaces of your lenses. This type of coating also decreases halos around light and creates a nicer cosmetic appearance, making your lenses nearly invisible. AR coating improves light transmission through the lens for night driving and helps photochromic lenses reduce glare in bright sunlight. AR coating is highly recommended for all eyeglass lenses, but especially for polycarbonate, high-index and aspheric lenses, which all reflect more light than regular lenses.

Scratch-Resistant Coating

Scratched lenses are distracting and can affect your ability to see clearly. Today, many eyeglass lenses have built-in scratch resistant coatings, including high-index lenses and lenses made of polycarbonate and Trivex. These types of lenses are treated front and back with a clear, scratch-resistant coating and have a much harder surface. Kids' lenses benefit from a scratch-resistant hard coating for greater durability.

UV Coating

By now, most of us know that cumulative exposure to UV radiation is bad for our eyes and is associated with age-related eye problems such as cataracts and macular degeneration. Lenses that block 100% of both UVA and UVB help to ward off the damaging effects of UV radiation. Thankfully, nearly all high-index plastic lenses and most sunglasses have 100 percent UV protection built-in. However, if you choose CR-39 plastic lenses, be aware that these lenses need an added coating applied to provide equal UV protection.

Photochromic Treatment

Photochromic lenses (a.k.a. Transitions) darken automatically in response to sunlight and return to clear (or nearly clear) when indoors. Photochromic lenses are available in virtually all lens materials and designs and can work for people who cannot afford a separate pair of prescription sunglasses or who have light sensitivity. 

Anti-fog Coating

During cold months, nothing is more frustrating than having your glasses fog up when you come in from outside. Even if you don’t live in a cold climate, your lenses may fog up during sports activities or when you are hot and perspiring. At least one eyeglass lens coating company has created a permanent coating designed to eliminate the condensation of moisture on lenses that causes fogging.

Tinted Lenses

Lens tinting can aid vision or add some cosmetic style to your glasses. A yellow tint may increase contrast and a gray tint may not alter color perception with sunglasses. Cosmetic tints come in a variety of colors, shades and gradations. Recently, there has been a lot of press on Computer Vision Syndrome, or CVS. Did you know that a special tint for your glasses can reduce eyestrain associated with CVS?

Mirror Coating

If you are looking for a purely cosmetic lens that allows the eyes to remain hidden from view, this is the coating for you. Mirror coatings come in a variety of colors such as silver, gold, and blue. 

Are you ready for a new pair of eyeglasses or lenses? Contact your Vision Source eye professional to schedule a comprehensive eye exam today! 

Author Vision Source — Published June 18, 2015

Posted In Eye Health Awareness