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Eyeglass Lens Coatings: Vision Enhancement and Protection

Lens Coatings for Eyeglasses There are several reasons that you would want to add lens coatings to your prescription. Some coatings are protective, great for those who are prone to being a little rough on their glasses - children and clumsy adults for instance. Others help the wearer to see better under certain conditions, such as when driving at night. And sometimes, coatings are good not only for performance but for appearance as well.

There are a number of things that you should keep in mind when you are considering coatings for your lenses:

The types of coatings
There are technically three types of coatings for you to choose from including anti-reflective (also called anti-glare), scratch resistant and UV protective. If you only wear one type of glasses for every day, it is best to opt for the coating that will protect your glasses as much as possible. Keep in mind that you can opt for glasses with lenses with some protective qualities and then add the others as you go.

Anti-reflective lens coatings
The anti-reflective lens coatings are metal oxides that are applied by the manufacturers to both the front and back of the lens surfaces. There are a number of benefits to this coating including improved night vision and more comfortable computer use - especially if you are stuck in front of the computer for long periods of time.

Another benefit of using this lens is that it eliminates the glare from your glasses and people can see your eyes without a problem. If you have ever had a photograph ruined by the glare of your glasses, you know what an improvement that is. This coating is especially good for those who are choosing high-index lenses, which because they are thinner than other types may reflect more light. Really, this is one of those coatings that offers something for everyone.

You can also add anti-reflective coating to your sunglasses; however, if you wish, you can opt to only have the backside coated. If you have ever stood at a baseball game or other outside event with the sun reflecting off the inside of your lenses you will understand how important that might be.

Finally, during the process, there are a few other layers added to protect your glasses including a hydrophobic layer (no, the glasses aren't rabid) to repel water and another layer to repeal oils and smudges.

If you opt for this kind of coating, make sure that you always follow the directions for cleaning your lenses. Anti-reflective coatings are very thin and simply wiping your glasses on your shirt could cause visible scratches. You may want to consider buying a special lens cleaning kit from your eye care professional.

Scratch protection
Okay, first things first: anyone who walks out of the optometrist with a child under say, twenty years old and does not opt for scratch resistance should be swatted with a rolled up newspaper. Kids are rough on glasses. Period! Now, a show of hands: who has ever used their shirt, a balled up paper towel or whatever they just grabbed out of the laundry basket to swipe off their glasses? You people all need scratch resistant protection as well.

But keep in mind that there is absolutely no such thing as total scratch protection. You are never going to find glasses that will not scratch - they are all vulnerable to scratching in some form or another, unless you are scrupulous in your care and protect them before you even get them out the door. Most lenses, including those made of polycarbonate materials do have some scratch resistant qualities; however, you may still need additional protection. Make sure that you check the warranty information, especially for this type of protection.

Stop those rays
Most people know how dangerous ultraviolet light can be to the skin and work very hard to protect themselves from burns, spots and potential skin cancers; however, they might be missing out on some very important protection for their eyes. Overexposure to UV rays can damage your eyes and may lead to cataracts, retinal damage or other problems. Some types of lenses, like those made of polycarbonate, already have total UV protection, others will require a special UV dye in order to protect your eyes.

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