Eyeglass lenses have a lens coating that will help improve the glasses’ effectiveness, performance, and durability. They are useful whether you are wearing any type of lens, from single vision to bifocals or even progressive lenses. Are you planning to purchase new eyeglasses? You probably have a few questions, and we’re here to answer them.
1. What is Anti-Reflective (AR) Coating?
Anti-reflective coating, also known as anti-glare, has multiple layers of ultra-thin coating. Its purpose is to reduce or eliminate reflections that commonly appear on the back and front surfaces of the lenses. With AR coating, the lenses seem almost invisible to other people, so they can focus on your eyes instead of the reflections that are so distracting sometimes.
Since this type of coating is anti-glare, it removes glare caused by light as it hits your lenses. Thanks to the absence of reflections, you see better even in low light situations. It also makes reading and smartphone or computer use much more comfortable.
You know that a particular lens has anti-reflection due to the residual colour that’s noticeable when you hold the eyeglasses at an angle against a white background.
2. Is an AR Coating Necessary for All Lenses?
Yes! Anti-reflective coating is a must for all lenses. Without AR coating, it’s difficult to see when driving at night or on wet roads because of the high reflectivity.
But not all AR coats perform the same. Cheaper options will not improve your visibility. A good amount of distracting reflections will still be present. On the other hand, a high-quality coating will remove all those distractions, enhance visibility at night, and reduce eye fatigue.
3. What are Hard Coatings?
Plastic lenses have become quite popular these days compared to glass lenses. However, plastics are not as resilient and can get scratches easily. That’s why they require a special hard coating lens process to make them more durable.
4. Why Should I Choose Hard Coated Lenses?
Hard coatings are a new type of lens coating technology that involves the use of multi-layered coatings:
Base layer for the hard coating
A few more layers in between
Topmost layer to seal and smoothen the lens surface
The blended layers provide the wearer with a moisture, dust, and dirt repelling surface. As a result, hard-coated lenses require minimal maintenance since they stay cleaner for longer.
5. How Can I Keep My Coated Lenses Clean and In Good Condition?
Hard coated lenses are easy to clean. They come with anti-static and water and oil-resistant properties. Dirt does not stick on the lenses. When it’s time to clean, just wipe with good quality lens wipes. Another option is to hold the lenses under running lukewarm water for a few seconds. Remove from water and shake off the water droplets. Then, take a clean microfibre cloth and wipe.
Make sure that you never use your T-shirt or handkerchief when cleaning, even if the lenses are scratch-resistant. These items have tiny particles that could damage the protective layers of the lenses. Small scratches will quickly accumulate and lead to a cloudy lens surface.
Avoid dropping your eyeglasses, as well. Improper handling, even if it doesn’t lead to drops, can still cause scratches. Also, be careful where you put your eyeglasses. Excessively low or high temperatures can quickly damage the lenses. That’s why leaving your eyeglasses in a parked car, especially in summer, is a no-no. Spectacle lenses should not be brought to the sauna or placed on the radiator as well.
6. What About Kids’ Lenses?
Just like adults, kids need good quality lens coatings. Start with an anti-reflective coating, which is useful mainly for young students. An absolute necessity is a hard coating; otherwise, the spectacles will immediately require a replacement since children can drop and damage them quickly.
7. What are Self-Tinting Lenses, and Do I Need Them?
Self-tinting, also marketed as photochromic or transition, is suitable for many people. This technology, however, is not an actual lens coating. Rather, it involves molecules applied in the lenses that react to light levels. It darkens when you are outdoors and will go back to its natural hue when indoors. It’s useful for those who work outside or usually have to keep switching between sunglasses and eyeglasses. Instead of carrying two types of eyewear, you only need one pair for the most part.
Self-tinting technology is also useful for people with light-sensitive eyes. If you often squint even when you’re indoors due to the bright room lighting, these lenses may be exactly what you need.
Just like with lens coatings, self-tinting is not created equal. The quality of the lenses will depend on how quickly they react or darken and recover or go back to normal, their durability, and the maximum tint darkness. The recovery rate is vital for many users. Think about going into a shop with normal lighting after being out under the summer sun. You don’t want to stay in the dark when you go back indoors, so self-tinting eyeglasses with a speedy recovery rate will ensure quick adaption no matter the light condition.
8. What Special Lens Coating Options Do I Have?
Most of us use digital devices for several hours daily. Our eyes need to feel more relaxed despite the constant torture of blue light. That’s why we need blue light protection coating to prevent eye strain, a common problem when focusing on a screen for a long time. This modern lens coating has a filter that acts as a barrier to block blue light from reaching the eyes. Even if you don’t use smart devices, you’re still exposed to blue light from your TV and LED light bulbs. Protect your eyes and your vision with an anti-blue light coating.
Another special lens coating that you may want to consider is for sun protection. Anti-UV coating will prevent glare and keep the sun from hurting your eyes. Stylish tints, such as single and bi-colours and gradient tints, are available to give you the appearance that you desire, whether you have mineral or plastic lenses.
Have you seen those trendy mirror-coated sunglasses? Back in the days, they were only useable when out in the sun as they worked like traditional shades. Now, they can have your prescription. Pick your favourite tint and stay confidently stylish with the right pair.
If you’re wondering what type of coating is best for you, please reach out to E Eye Place. Schedule a visit, and we’ll help you sort out the most suitable lens coatings for you and your lifestyle.
Stephanie is an owner optometrist, researcher and educator. She has held clinical, teaching and research roles in Australia and overseas, and has extensive training and clinical experience. Stephanie is also the head optometrist at E Eye Place, on top of this, she is also currently a PhD candidate at UNSW. Dr Stephanie Yeo Optometrist BOptom (HC1) GradCertOcTher DOPT (Merit) CO Ophthalmic Medicines Prescriber.