How to Pick the Right Lenses for Your Prescription Eyeglasses

Man at eye dr trying on glasses.

When visiting the eye doctor’s office do you spend time trying on eyeglass frames, even if you don’t need a new pair? You’re not alone. Prescription eyewear now is a popular fashion statement. Of the nearly three out of four Americans who need vision correction, about 71 percent wear prescription eyeglasses.

When buying eyeglasses, people often focus on the look of the frame design and spend minimal time choosing the lenses. But experts say that the lens is the most important part of the decision. If you’re not happy with the lenses, you won’t wear the glasses. Consider the following tips on how to pick the right lenses for your prescription eyeglasses.

Choose the right lens material

For years, glass was the only type of material available for prescription lenses. But today, most lenses are made with one of these high-tech plastic materials:

  • Polycarbonate – This impact-resistant lens is the perfect choice for people who participate in activities where glasses can get damaged.
  • Photochromatic – These lenses turn dark when outdoors and clear when indoors. It’s the perfect lens design for anyone who doesn’t want to wear prescription sunglasses.
  • Trivex – Made of a newer type of plastic material, trivex is similar to polycarbonate. It’s thin, lightweight and impact-resistant. This material also may provide better vision correction for some people.
  • High-index plastic – For people with a strong prescription, this plastic material is the right choice. Lenses made from high-index plastic are lighter and thinner. This is a welcome relief for people with thick lenses.
  • Aspheric – Lenses made from this material have flatter curves, so they are slimmer and more attractive. In comparison, the normal lens style features a curve across the entire surface. For some people, aspheric lenses can improve peripheral vision.

Understand multifocal lenses

As people reach age 40, they may need multifocal lenses, such as bifocals or trifocals, to make it easier to see objects both close up and far away with the same lenses. In the past, bifocals and trifocals had a visible line between the prescription levels. Now there is an option for no-line lenses, or progressives, so they look the same as single vision lenses. Without the distinct line separating the vision levels, people can enjoy clear vision at all distances.

Select the right lens coating

Several types of lens coatings are available to enhance prescription eyewear:

  • Anti-reflective – Designed to reduce glare, reflections and halos around lights.
  • Scratch-resistant – Plastic lens materials are softer and more prone to scratches. An anti-scratch coating provides an extra layer of protection to improve lens durability.
  • Ultraviolet protection – Nearly all plastic lenses are designed with 100 percent UV protection to shield eyes from harmful sun rays.
  • Tinted lenses – Eye doctors may recommend adding a light tint to the lens material to improve vision clarity.
    • Yellow – Provides clear vision in fog, haze and low-light conditions; filters out blue light.
    • Green – Dims glare and brightens shadows.
    • Brown or amber – Improves contrast and enhances depth perception.
    • Blue, purple or double gradient – Reduces glare and improves color perception, and it’s a popular fashion statement.
    • Gray – Enhances color perception and reduces glare from water.
    • Pink or red – Reduces eye strain, enhances depth perception, and improves road visibility.

Don’t forget to take care of your eyeglasses. For most people, prescription eyeglasses are a financial investment in their overall health. Resting eyeglasses on your head or flinging them on a desk or countertop can stretch out the frame and make it difficult to see correctly through the lenses. Instead, store eyeglasses in a case or place where they won’t get damaged.

Throughout the day, eyeglass lenses can collect dirt, facial oils and smudges. Rinse lenses under clear, lukewarm water and dry them with a soft, non-lint cloth. Avoid rubbing lenses with tissues, paper towels or clothing to help prevent unnecessary scratches from dirt particles.

All About Vision

Leave a comment