How to Choose Your Eyeglass Lenses

Frames and lenses

There are lots of choices when it comes to frames and lenses. You might get lost in the optician’s store. It could be that you are not that familiar with the process given all the choices available to you. In the eye care business, we are faced with a number of questions on a daily basis and one of these questions is WHAT KIND OF LENS MATERIAL IS APPROPRIATE FOR ME?

Here are some tips to help you make the choice:

You should always consult with your eye care professional to help determine what is best for you.

Some people are under the impression that glass lenses are still available. Glass lenses are no longer legal in the United States – this is mainly for safety reasons.

There are 3 materials for lenses:
1. Regular plastic
2. Polycarbonate
3. High index plastic

For regular plastic: It is a very lightweight and durable material which works well for low strength prescriptions. Plastic lenses are the cheapest and usually they are covered by most insurance providers. Since it is an inexpensive option, you may consider a plastic lens with a higher prescription, depending on the frame that you choose. Suppose you choose a heavy plastic frame, in that case the thickness of the lens will be hidden by the frame, the plastic lens will work for you. On the other hand, if you are getting a metal frame, the thickness of the lens will be visible and it might not be as attractive as another option. Always consult with your optician so that you can get an approximate idea of what you are getting before ordering.

For Polycarbonate (polycarb or poly): This is a shatterproof material – polycarbonate lenses have become the must for safety glasses, rimless glasses, sports goggles and children’s eyewear. It is also good to have in a semi-rimless frame. Over time, with handling of the frame, regular plastic might start to chip away. This is a thinner material and is good for a higher strength prescription. If for example your prescription is -4.00, you should choose polycarb and the glasses will look less bulky. The price of polycarb lenses is more expensive but worth it.

For high index: This is the material for higher strength prescriptions. High index lenses are a must for people with high myopia. Thin eyeglasses are thought to be more attractive than thicker ones. Light eyeglasses are comfortable; heavy ones are not. It is no surprise then that most people want the thinnest, lightest eyeglasses that they can find. These are the most expensive lenses.

Be patient when shopping for eyeglass frames. Find an optician you can trust. Ask family and friends for recommendations. Remember, the best referrals they get are when patients and clients refer friends and family to them. Always check your insurance for all available options. Even without a specific optical plan, there are often discount optical plans available that are honored by most opticians. Be sure to check out a few local stores for valuable offers and coupons.

Tip: Getting your eyes checked and purchasing your glasses in the same place saves you valuable time and money.