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New Features & Add-ons for your Prescription Glasses

June 23, 2011

What are all of the fancy add-ons and do you really need them?

Getting a new pair of glasses can be really exciting for most people: you get to pick out new frames, you get an updated, accurate prescription, and, hopefully, you’re looking forward to seeing your favorite eye doctor again!

However, while the process of picking out your new frames may seem simple enough, all of the extra add-ons that come along with new glasses can be overwhelming, especially if you don’t understand all of the different options and features.

In order to make the process a little less confusing, we have put together a list explaining all of the different add-ons for prescription lenses and how to determine whether or not you need each feature:

Polycarbonate Lenses

First developed in the 1970s for aerospace applications (used for astronaut visors and space shuttle windshields), this specific type of lens is designed to be extremely lightweight and impact-resistant. They also block 100 percent of the sun’s UV rays which eliminates the need for special UV coating.

Because Polycarbonate lenses are scratch and shatter-resistant, they are the perfect lens choice for people who participate in sports and physical activities, and for children who wear glasses.

Polarized Lenses

Polarized lenses are perfect for just about any outdoor activity―fishing, biking, jogging, boating, etc. They help to reduce glare as well as provide high-contrast vision with 100 percent UV protection. They are also very helpful when driving during the day time, as they can reduce the sun’s glare that reflects off of the road’s surface.

Outdoor enthusiasts are typically the people who benefit the most from polarized lenses. However, they can also be worn indoors by people whose eyes are sensitive to light, such as post-cataract surgery patients and post-LASIK patients.

Anti-Reflective Coating

This optical coating can be added to the back of most prescription lenses in order to help prevent distracting reflections and lens glare when the sun is behind you. It also allows more light to pass through the lens, increasing contrast and visual perception. Many people who opt for this coating find that their eyes are less strained throughout the day, due to the decreased glare.

Anti-reflective coating is beneficial to nearly anyone who wears prescription lenses. Research has shown that wearing anti-reflective coated lenses can help improve your vision while driving at night, working on the computer, and reading throughout the day.

Hydrophobic Coating

Most premium anti-reflective coatings include a hydrophobic surface layer that helps to keep lenses  clean and clear in wet or messy conditions. However, it is also possible to add this feature on to regular prescription lenses. Hydrophobic coating works by bonding with the glass in order to create a barrier that protects against dust, water and dirt. It also creates a water repellant surface across the glass that helps to fend off water, salt spray and any other undesirable liquid.

This optical coating is a perfect add-on for someone who finds themselves in messy conditions or regularly participates in activities such as boating, camping or hiking.

Photochromic/Transition Lenses:

Photochromic lenses, commonly referred to as Transition Lenses after their manufacturer, Transitions Optical, are great for people with prescription lenses who frequently have to switch between eyeglasses and sunglasses when they move from indoors to outdoors. These lenses automatically darken to respond to outdoor UV light. They also protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays.

Photochromic lenses are useful for adults and children who spend a lot of time outdoors. They are also a great option  for people who may have light sensitivity and do not want to switch back and forth between two types of frames.

When choosing features and add-ons for your prescription lenses, be sure to ask your eye doctor about any options that you may not understand. The most important thing to do when picking out a pair of glasses is to choose a pair that you are comfortable with.


Image source: Jupiter Images

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