People often think that all lenses are created equal. Therefore, it’s a common mistake to choose to purchase glasses based on the frames alone, without too much thought going into the part of the glasses which grant you vision. Now, don’t get me wrong, frames are super important to get the look and style you’re going for. But, at the end of the day, it’s the lenses that are going to make the difference between glasses you love and glasses that you don’t.
So how do you choose the right lenses and avoid garbage?
There are essentially four crucial elements to lenses:
- How they look
- How comfortable they are
- How well you see with them
Over the past decades, a ton of materials science and engineering has gone into researching the lightest and most effective lenses. These are used to correct a wide range of vision problems such as myopia (nearsightedness), presbyopia, astigmatisms, and the need for multiple corrections at once in the form of multifocals. Lenses do this by refracting light at just the right levels to adjust how we perceive objects. Over time, lens shape and technology has developed to the point that we can do better vision correction than we used to, without nearly as thick lenses. Making glasses more comfortable and much safer than actual glass.
Beyond how well lenses help you see, it’s also important to understand the different treatments which can make a huge difference for how comfortable and resilient our glasses are. These include:
Anti-scratch coating ― absolutely essential to preserving the durability and clarity of your lenses
Anti-reflective (AR) ― the higher the index of your glasses, the more light you reflect. This amounts to annoying and disruptive glare. Anyone who has driven at night with subpar AR coating knows exactly how problematic this can be.
UV-Blocking ― ultraviolet radiation is a significant risk to our long-term eye health. These rays directly contribute to serious eye conditions such as macular degeneration and cataracts. You need to make sure you are protected from early childhood and onwards, especially if you’re lenses are made out of CR-39. If your glasses vendor isn’t clear about what the lenses are made of, be wary!
What goes into making prescription lenses anyway?
High-quality lenses are made in a lab. And that’s for a very good reason. The shape and density of the lenses have to be just so in order to correct your vision properly. One of the biggest problems with ignoring the lenses in your glasses is that you don’t know how rigorously the lenses were made, or if the appropriate treatments were applied. If they were applied, it’s still crucial to know that the treatments themselves were of high quality and applied in a strictly-controlled environment. Otherwise, they can be ineffective and wear off quickly turning your fashion decision into a vision nightmare of scratches, blurred vision, and glare.
Online vendors of glasses are notorious for selling second-rate or inferior lenses. Since most people are focusing on the frames, they often sell decent frames but skimp on the lenses in order to cut costs.
How to avoid shoddy lenses
Your best bet is to purchase your lenses from a trusted source. All too often, “premium” lenses turn out to be seriously sub-par. Make sure that whomever you are dealing with is able to tell you about the brand of lenses being used. Your vendor or optician should be able to tell you what material your lenses are made from and why, what treatments are applied, and how these lenses functionally stand up to others on the market in terms of performance and vision quality.
At Specs for Less, we provide glasses in Staten Island, as well as East Harlem and Keyport NJ using only quality lenses that are made under careful conditions and fitted with care. When you purchase premium lenses with us, you KNOW that they are indeed premium lenses.