Choosing Eyeglass Lens Materials
When choosing lenses for your glasses, it is good to know what lens material is most suitable for your lifestyle and most importantly, your vision.
There are a variety of great lens materials available for eyeglasses wearers. In recent years, advances in technology have resulted in breakthroughs that now allow people to enjoy lenses that combine all the best features on the market: UV protection, impact resistance, excellent optics and the lightest materials.
We’ve written up a nice little list below. Check out the different lens materials that are available, along with the advantages and disadvantages of each!
1) High-index plastic lenses: These are some of the thinnest and lightest lenses available. They are highly recommended if you have a strong eyeglasses prescription for nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism.
2) Polycarbonate lenses: These lightweight lenses are extremely impact resistant and also offer UV protection. They’re a suitable choice for children’s glasses and safety glasses alike.
3) Trivex lenses: Similar to polycarbonate lenses, Trivex lenses are thin, lightweight and much more impact-resistant than regular plastic or glass lenses. However, they offer crisper vision and a higher Abbe value (don’t worry - if you keep reading, we’ll explain that later) than polycarbonate lenses.
4) CR-39 plastic lenses: These lenses are half the weight of glass lenses and still provide excellent optics and vision correction. However, they are generally thicker than other standard plastic lens options.
5) Crown glass lenses: Glass lenses will always provide the best optical experience as glass refracts light much more efficiently than plastic; however, they are heavier and thicker than their plastic counterparts. If you’re going to be running around in your glasses, we’d suggest not risking it with glass lenses.
Index of Refraction
The refractive index of a material is a number that shows how well a given material refracts and bends light - which, in turn, depends on how fast light travels through said material.
Essentially, the higher the refractive index of a material, the slower light moves through it, which results in a greater bending (refracting) of light rays. With a higher refractive index, less lens material is required to bend light to the same degree as a lens with a lower refractive index.
In other words, for any eyeglass prescription, a lens made of a material with a high-refractive index will be thinner than a lens made of a material with a lower refractive index.
In addition, high-index plastic lenses tend to be more expensive because they are of higher quality than low-index lenses.
This is the part you’ve been waiting for. The Abbe value of a lens material is a way to measure how widely the lens disperses different wavelengths of light as light passes through it.
Lens materials with a low Abbe value have high dispersion, which can cause noticeable chromatic aberration - i.e. an optical error visible as colored halos around objects, especially lights at night.
The Abbe value of lens materials available today can range from a high of 59 (crown glass lenses) to a low of 30 (polycarbonate lenses).
The lower the Abbe value, the more likely the lens material is to cause chromatic aberration.
I Know My Stuff About Lens Materials and I’m Looking for Some New Glasses. What Now?
Congratulations. You’ve got all the hard learning out of the way. Now, it’s time to select a pair of glasses - or even sunglasses - that’s right for you. At SmartBuyGlasses we’re proud to host a whole range of luxury brands, value models, cutting-edge technologies and more. We stock loads of brands that offer progressive lenses - just select your new prescription on checkout. If you’ve seen a pair you like the look of, but aren’t sure how they’ll look ‘on-face’, why don’t you have a look at...
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zFORT® Blue Light Blocking Glasses
Blue light is a potentially harmful form of light. While it is naturally emitted by the sun, electronic devices (upon which we’re spending more and more time every day) are also high-level producers. Blue light rays at a wavelength between 415nm - 455nm can damage your retinal cells, which may lead to premature eye ageing and vision problems in the future.
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