Lens coatings can enhance the performance, appearance, and durability of eyeglass lenses. While virtually invisible, they play a significant role in making a pair of eyeglasses a useful tool and improving visual comfort. Lens coatings also help eyeglasses to be more durable and easier to clean.
Different Types of Lens Coatings and Treatments
When acquiring a new pair of eyeglasses, one can choose a coating that meets their personal needs.
It's also known as an anti-glare coating or AR coating. It's a thin coating that improves both visual and aesthetic lens traits. The coating decreases glare and reflections from the front and back lens surfaces and minimizes halos around lights at night. The anti-glare coating helps reduce glare in photochromic lenses in bright sunlight and improves light transmission through the lens for night driving.
Everyone can benefit from an AR coating, and it's highly recommended for patients with high prescriptions and those with decreased night vision. It works well with aspheric, high-index and polycarbonate lenses, which tend to have more reflections than regular lenses. AR coating is also ideal for people in professions where cosmetic appearance is important because it makes the lenses seem almost invisible, which provides a better aesthetic look.
It's a transparent, hard coating usually applied to the front lens's surface in most materials to enhance their scratch resistance. Nowadays, many manufacturers make lenses with built-in scratch-resistant coatings, including polycarbonate, Trivex and high-index plastic lenses. For greater longevity, the eyeglasses of highly active people and children may benefit from a scratch-resistant hard coating.
Ultraviolet (UV) Treatments
UV overexposure can cause cataracts, retinal damage and other eye disorders. UV treatment of lenses protects against the sun's damaging effects by blocking 100 percent of both UVA and UVB radiation. Nowadays, most sunglasses, polycarbonate and high-index plastic lenses, have built-in 100 percent UV protection. However, CR-39 plastic lenses need UV coating to provide complete UV protection. The UV coating is usually included with the purchase of eyeglasses and is easy to apply.
Photochromic lenses are clear indoors and darken outdoors because they have a unique chemical coating that makes them responsive to sunlight. They are available in all lens materials and designs and great for light sensitive people and those who don't wish to have an extra pair of prescription sunglasses.
Lenses may fog up in cold weather or when the wearer is hot and perspiring, like during sports activities. The anti-fog coating prevents fogging by eliminating the condensation of moisture on lenses.
It's a reflective and purely cosmetic lens coating, also referred to as flash coating. The front lens surface coating provides special appearances with a range of colors, including gold, copper metallic, rainbow, and silver. Observers only see the color of a mirror coating; it's invisible to the wearer.
These are usually sunglasses and are available in many colors, with the most common being grey and brown tints. Vertically polarized lenses reduce reflections and bright glare by blocking horizontal polarized reflected light. Polarized lenses are popular with anglers because they deal better with a bright light reflected off the water and allow the wearer to see deeper into the water.
Lens tinting can protect the eyes, enhance vision and improve the cosmetic appearance of the eyeglasses. Colored lenses may reduce eyestrain, increase contrast, block harmful UV radiation, among many other benefits. Cosmetic tints are available in a wide range of colors, shades and gradations.
A Blue-Light Protective Coating
Blue-light glasses or a blue-light protective coating may help prevent eye strain and other symptoms associated with prolonged exposure to blue light from both screens and the environment.
Seek Professional Guidance
The patient's personal needs help determine the lens coatings that benefit their lifestyle the most. An eye care professional can explain the available options and recommend the best lenses and coatings for the patient's prescription and budget.