If you wear glasses, have considered updating your look, and you’ve done a little research regarding the latest in lens technology, then you’ve probably heard of anti-reflective lens coating. But you may not know what it is exactly, how it works, what the benefits are, or even if the extra cost is worth it. So, before you purchase your next pair of glasses, it’s important to take some time and learn more about this optional coating, the pros and cons, and whether or not it’s right for you and your vision needs.
What is Anti-Reflective Lens Coating?
This special coating is applied to the lenses of glasses and works to reduce glare, allowing more light through to your eyes. The coating is applied directly to the surface of the lenses and significantly reduces the amount of glare that can reflect off the lenses. Your eyes will enjoy clearer, sharper vision, since the coating will allow more light to pass through.
Because it allows for more light to shine through it can also help to reduce eye strain, by preventing the need to squint in order to see clearly in bright light conditions.
New Coating Technology
Over the years, this type of coating has evolved. Several years ago, glasses wearers ran into many problems with this type of coating. In the past, glasses with this coating had to be cleaned frequently. The coating would scratch easily and would even peel off over time. Because of its poor reputation, many people have shied away from this option when it’s offered by eyecare specialists. However, these days, the coating is more durable and tougher than ever. It’s now fused onto the surface of the lens, unlike how it was processed in the past. The new coating also contains chemicals that reduce the adhesion of grease and water. This will keep the lenses much cleaner, for a longer period of time, so they lenses are easier to clean and maintain.
While the coating will work well for most types of lenses, it’s a better choice for high index lenses since these lenses are much thinner compared to traditional plastic lenses.
How Anti-Reflective Coating Works
Even the best reading glasses will reflect approximately eight percent of the light back outside. This can make it more difficult to see. Light that gets reflected results in glare that makes it even harder to see, especially in bright light conditions. An AR coating is designed to eliminate glare, so you can see better, even in bright sunlight.
But how does this coating work exactly? Obviously, the main benefit of the coating lies in how it works to eliminate the glare from the back and front of the lenses. Essentially, the higher the index of refraction, the more light that’s able to be reflected from the surface. This means, if you’re shopping around for polycarbonate or high index lenses, then an anti-reflective coating is definitely something you need since both types of lenses tend to reflect more light than basic plastic lenses.
Thanks to advances in technology, over ninety-nine percent of light is able to pass through lenses that have a high-quality anti-reflective coating. With the elimination of glare, the wearer will enjoy a higher level of protection. Their vision will be clearer, thanks to this basic coating. By eliminating glare, people will also be able to see the wearer’s eyes, making the eyes more visible in photos. It will also make a person’s vision much sharper when they’re driving, preventing the sun from blinding them.
The Benefits of AR Coating
Did you know that this coating will also make glasses easier to clean since it will prevent dirt, water, and oil from sticking to the lenses? This coating will allow you to see clearly, will make it easier to drive in bright light conditions, and will also make your eyes more visible, but there are also many other benefits that come with having this special coating applied to your lenses, such as:
- AR coating will extend the life of your lenses. It will protect the surface of the lenses from smudges and scratches, so even if you drop your glasses, you won’t have to worry about having to replace them due to damage. This means you won’t have to replace your lenses as often.
- If you work at a computer, or you’re always on your phone, then you may experience red eyes and eye strain that’s caused by exposure to blue light. AR coatings will help by reducing blue light exposure, so you’ll no longer experience headaches, eye strain, and fatigue caused by staring at a computer screen all day. This benefit alone is enough to cause most eyeglass wearers to request this special coating.
- If you have cataracts or another type of vision problem, then you’ll need to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays at all costs. An AR coating will work to protect your eyes from UV rays.
This coating can be applied to all types of glasses, including readers, and glasses for both kids and adults. In fact, this coating is a great choice for an active child and kids who love to game.
For more information on how to choose new glasses for your child, click here to read my guide on the 8 tips for buying glasses for kids.
How the Coating is Applied
As you can see, there are many benefits linked to AR coating. The coating material consists of a thin film that’s carefully layered on the lenses. It’s made out of material that has an index of refraction that’s between that of glass and air. This allows the intensity of light that’s reflected from the outer surface, and light that’s reflected from the inner surface of the coating to be almost equal.
The coating is applied in a thickness that measures in at a quarter of light’s wavelength, so the reflections for each side of the film actually work by canceling each other out via destructive interference. This is what works to minimize the glare you see. The coating can also be applied to some types of sunglasses in order to get rid of hot spot glare that can reflect off the lenses.
An AR coating can be applied during the manufacturing process, or it can be applied to lenses that have been customized. This means you can add the AR coating to your glasses after purchase. Depending on the brand, having the coating added can cost $30-$100. In some cases, the coating may be covered by an insurance provider, however, this will vary from plan to plan.
Not All Coatings are Created Equal
High-quality coatings are able to eliminate 99% of glare, significantly improving the wearer’s vision. Premium coating brands use a rigorous process that will seal the coatings, making it much easier to maintain and clean the lenses. The surface treatment possesses repellent properties that will prevent oil from damaging the lenses or liquid from forming water spots.
Most eyeglass manufacturers will have their own special coating formula. Because of this, there are different layers of coatings that will block individual wavelengths of light. More layers often equal a higher level of protection. As an example, if you’re someone who spends a lot of time on the computer or using your phone or tablet, then you will benefit from coating that blocks out blue light. Low-quality coatings may not be able to protect your eyes from blue light, which can be a major disappointment for glasses wearers who requested the coating for that specific purpose. Because of this, I recommend speaking with your eye care specialist to determine which brand offers the best performance and the most powerful protection. Of course, these premium coatings will come with a higher price tag, but for most eyeglass wearer’s this higher price tag is often worth it.
Anti-reflective lens coating is definitely worth it, especially for people who spend a lot of time outdoors or those who suffer from eye strain caused by blue light exposure. This coating will help you feel better, look better, and see better. If you’re on a tight budget and this coating isn’t covered by your insurance provider, then you can have a basic AR coating applied to your lenses, and it should work well to cut down on glare significantly. Whether or not you really need this type of coating is up to you. As I’ve mentioned here, it offers many benefits, aside from improving your vision. Of course, not all coatings are created equal, so it’s important to discuss this option with your eyecare specialist and get their input regarding which brand of coating offers the best performance and ultimate protection.