Lens Options

Know Your Options: You Have Choices

Choosing the correct lens style, lens material and lens coatings can be overwhelming.  You don’t need to know everything, but some basics can be helpful.

Plastic Lenses are the standard material.  Inexpensive and factory coated with a scratch-resistant coating, they make a good pair of glasses.

Polycarbonate Lenses are a lightweight, shatterproof material used in safety glasses, but also as a way to thin the lenses for a more attractive look.  We use this material for all of our children glasses, for safety reasons.

Hi-Index Plastic Lenses are high index of refraction polymers that are very dense and very thin.  With this material we can make high prescriptions very thin, though slightly heavier, than the polycarbonate equivalent.  We prefer this material both for the look and the decrease in distortion.

Trivex Lenses are a combination of Polycarbonate and Hi-Index.  This lens was developed here in Pittsburgh by PPG Industries and allows for a thinner lens than the polycarbonate lens, but also more lightweight than the Hi-Index. We like this lens for moderate prescriptions for less distortion than simple Polycarbonate and more lightweight than the Hi-Index material.

Glass Lens material is still possible to get, but the weight of the lenses and low safety profile means we rarely use this material

Coatings help protect the lens and are available with most materials.

Scratch Coating - Factory Applied Scratch-Coating is standard on all lenses.  This protects your lenses from normal wear and tear from daily cleaning and life’s little mishaps.

Anti-Reflective Coating (anti-glare) is applied at the end of the manufacturing process and eliminates glare from surfaces, oncoming headlights and internal glare from your lenses.  For best function of your lenses, we recommend this on all prescriptions. 

Transitions or Photochromic Lens is a chemical property of the lens that reacts to ambient UV (ultraviolet) light and causes the lens to darken.  It protects your eyes from UV damage and reduces the brightness from sunlight when outside.  

Lenses are completely clear when inside or behind the windshield of a car.  We recommend this lens on most prescriptions as a way to protect the eyes from the potential damage from UV and for anyone spending time outside without sunglasses.

Blue Light Protective Coating is a thin coating, either clear or slightly yellow that protects your eyes from the blue light emitted from screens of computers, electronic notebooks, smartphones and other digital devices. 

The amount of HEV (high energy visible) light these devices emit is only a fraction of that emitted by the sun and we use this coating on any prescription where the primary use will be in front of a screen: computers, laptops, or hand-held devices.  How much damage we are incurring by spending time in front of our screens is still unknown.

Polarized sunglasses have been popular for years with boaters and fishermen who need to reduce reflected glare from the water surrounding them. Polarized lenses contain a special filter that blocks this type of intense reflected light, reducing glare. 

With polarized lenses, you may be unable to see your cell phone or GPS device, but they make the best sunglasses for many uses, including driving and outdoor activities.

Sunglasses can also be made by applying a UV Coating and Tinting.  This does not have the same reflective ability as Polarization, but works to absorb some of the brightness from the sunlight and protect your eyes from potential damage from UltraViolet light.

  • Single Vision: These lenses give you one area of focus and can be either for distance, near or computer area.
    • Digital Single Vision lenses have an extra feature that allows for more comfortable use of digital devices.
  • Progressive Lenses: These lenses enhance your ability to change your focus between distance and near focal points.  Driving, seeing the dashboard, reading your text messages, working at the computer and reading the small print are all possible with this lens style. 
    • There are many brands of progressive lenses. We fit many of them and tailor our choices to your individual needs. Some are better for intermediate distances, others work best for lots of activity.  
    • It's easy to adapt to today's modern progressive lenses.
  • Bifocal or Trifocal Lenses: These are lenses that give you two or three areas of focus. Any combination of distance, intermediate and near is possible. There is a visible line on the lens and your may experience some image jump between areas of focus.

Lens Consultation

Our trained opticians can help you navigate these choices during your lens consultation, based on your prescription and on your task needs.  No appointment needed.  Please see our hours for convenient times to stop in.

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