What is a coated lens?
Coatings can be added to your glasses lens as a protective layer, to improve vision medically or for cosmetic reasons.
To enhance the performance and appearance of you glasses lens – whether it be a single vision, bifocal or a progressive lens – there are many types of coated lens depending on your personal requirements and daily activities.
Eyewear lens coatings explained
Below is a description of the four most common types of eyeglass lens coatings you may discuss with your Optometrist when visiting the opticians.
1. Anti-reflective coatings on glasses
An anti-reflection (also known as anti-glare) coating eliminates reflections from the front and back of the lens. By having this coating you will eliminate glare caused by light reflection, making night time driving, reading, general vision and prolonged computer use more comfortable.
This type of coating also gives your glasses lenses a better cosmetic finish. By removing reflections, these lenses look almost transparent, which means other people can see your eyes clearly through your glasses.
If you’ve ever struggled with the flash reflecting off your glasses in photos, then this lens coating may be a good option for you to consider!
There are a wide range of anti-reflection coatings available, including those suitable for prescription sunglasses and varifocals. These variations will enable you to have the best protection out there to suit your needs, which your Optician can advise you on during your appointment.
For more information about anti-reflective lenses, read our full guide
2. UV protection coating
This type of lens coating has anti-reflective qualities plus more benefits. UV lens coating features:
- Excellent transparency
- Exceptional resistance to scratches
- Significant reduction of reflections
- Protection against UV rays.
Is a UV coating on your glasses worth it?
No matter what the weather or if you are in direct sunlight or not, UV rays affect everyone all year round. 50% of UV rays reaching our eyes do not come from direct sunlight but are reflected from different surface areas, such as windows.
By coating your glasses lenses with UV layer, you are protecting your eyes from UV damage and avoiding eye age damage.
In the past, anti-reflection lens did not have UV protection included and people used to have to choose transition lenses to get this cover. These days, UV coatings are often integrated within the anti-reflection lens.
Technology has also become more advanced allowing the lens to be less smeary than before – meaning that glasses with a UV coating will have a greater resistance to water, greasy fingerprints and dust.
3. Scratch-resistant coating for glasses
As well as being irritating to look through, a scratched pair of glasses does not help us feel or look at our best. Whilst an entirely scratch-proof lens would be ideal, no glasses lens can be completely guaranteed to that level of durability.
This is where scratch-resistant coatings come in:
A scratch-resistant lens has been treated on the front and the back with a clear coating. This coating enables the lens to be scratch resistant but not completely scratch proof.
Choosing this option will give the lens a harder wearable surface than a lens that does not have any coatings. As plastic lenses are more commonly used than glass lenses these days a hard coating is always advised. Plastic is softer and more prone to scratching than glass.
Scratch-resistant lens coatings are a great option if you’re looking for a durable pair of glasses for your child or you are someone with an active lifestyle.
4. Anti-fog lens coating
This lens is aimed at people who find they struggle with their glasses fogging.
Lens fogging can occur for many different reasons, for example: moving from a cold environment to a warm one. If you live in a cold climate, you may find this happens repetitively throughout the day as you step indoors. As well as being frustrating, this can become quite a safety issue for some, e.g. emergency services employees.
Foggy glasses are caused by tiny droplets of moisture forming on the lens causing condensation. So that condensation does not form, you can choose to have an anti-fog coating applied to your glasses. Having this coating applied spreads the moisture droplets across the entire surface of the lens so they become invisible.
An anti-fog lens will be particularly beneficial to people who play sports and for those who find they often become hot and sweaty.
Are lens coatings for glasses worth it?
When you visit your optician it is likely that there will be different varieties of lens coatings available to you. It is worth noting that the cheaper lenses will not offer the same level of benefits as the coatings above can give you.
The main benefit of lens coatings is so that you can be confident that your glasses are providing you with the highest performance.
If you have any questions about lenses, your Optometrist will be able explain the best lens coatings available to you based on your eyesight and your needs.