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Eyeglasses lenses and coatings

Eyeglasses lenses, coatings, and edgings options

Your lens selection may be dictated by your prescription and your daily activities. For instance, some people can’t get accustomed to progressive lenses, even though they eliminate the annoyance of lined bifocals and trifocals. But often you’ll have a choice of polycarbonate or high-index lenses, or you have to decide whether to buy an anti-reflective coating. Your eye doctor and optician can guide you, but here’s what you need to know to make sure you’re getting good advice. Prices are what we found for single-vision lenses excluding the eyeglass frame.

  PROS CONS SUMMARY
LENSES
Glass
$68-$180
Good optical quality Heavy; breakage may cause eye damage; transmits UV light Avoid
CR-39
$39-$129
Good optical quality; least costly Thick with heavy prescriptions; not the best choice for drill-mounted, semi and rimless frames; scratches Bad for sports or for people who do not have two healthy eyes. Good for mild prescriptions
Polycarbonate
$50-$180
Highly shatter-resistant; thinner and lighter than CR-39; good for mid price thinner lenses to avoid coke bottle thicker prescriptions More costly than CR-39 The choice for children, sports enthusiasts, and others who are likely to break glasses or for people with only one healthy eye.  Good for semi-rimless frames
High-index
$99-$275
Thinner than polycarbonate; lightweight May be expensive Good for heavy prescriptions. Functions best with anti-reflective coating
Trivex
$100-$135
Lightweight; thinner and optically superior to polycarbonate; natural UV protection; impact-resistant. New material with limited availability; scratches. Best choice for drill-mounted, rimless or semi-rimless frames.
COATING
Scratch-resistant
$10-$25
Protects lenses. Usually an option, with lenses Additional expense, if needed Add, if not included
Anti-Glare or Anti-reflective
$30-$125
Improves clarity, especially for night driving and computer use. Reduces reflections, making eyes more attractive Additional expense Especially good for drivers and computer users
Ultraviolet protection
$10-$25
Blocks ultraviolet light. Additional expense Worth while extra precaution
EDGES
Polished
$10-$25
Removes milky appearance of rimless and semi-rimless glasses Additional expense Worth while for rimless and semi-rimless glasses.
Rolled and polished
$10-$40
Reduces perceived thickness of high prescription lenses Additional expense Worth while for thicker lenses
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