When it comes to buying eyeglasses, it can be easy to get overwhelmed or confused with choosing a lens material. Many people still have no idea that lenses made of actual glass are pretty uncommon these days – “Polycarbonate… huh?!” So the next time you order a pair of eyeglasses and it comes time to choose a lens material, here are some helpful points to consider…

The two most commonly used lens materials these days are polycarbonate and plastic. Polycarbonate is an acrylic-like material that with uses ranging from eyeglasses  to police riot gear. That’s right, riot gear! It is an extremely durable material, which is why it is the doctors’ lens of choice for all children’s eyeglasses. Another great thing about “poly” lenses is that they are lighter and thinner than regular plastic eyeglass material, which makes them far more comfortable while they’re on your face.

An alternative to polycarbonate are standard plastic lenses. You may also want to consider choosing plastic lenses if you are buying prescription sunglasses. The plastic lens material holds tint the best, allowing the color to come out the most vividly and uniformly. Most dark sunglasses are made with plastic lenses for this reason.

For people with very strong prescriptions, the best option may be high index lenses.  The higher the “index” of a lens, the less material is needed for the same optical effect.  Therefore the result is a thinner, and often lighter, lens.

Lenses with different uses (progressives, polarized, etc.) may be offered in any lens material. Hopefully these tips will help you to find the lens material that best suits your needs, and feel free to ask away with any questions!