ANTI-REFLECTIVE COATING FOR EYEGLASSES: WORTH THE MONEY?
Photo by Mitch Gantman
Chances are you have noticed how annoying reflections can be with your lenses. These reflections distract not only you the wearer of the lenses, but they also have a way of taking most of the attention away from your eyes and to their changing patterns. Thanks to technology and growth in the optics industry, almost anything you can imagine to make your lenses more comfortable is possible.
Anti-reflective coating for eyeglasses is the most relevant and popular solution for reflection in lenses. While you may have heard of anti-reflective coating, some people are misinformed and/or curious as to if this upgrade is worth the extra money. This is understandable considering that the additional costs to get anti-reflective coating for eyeglasses can range anywhere from $20 to $90. These figures also vary depending on the brand and type of anti-reflective coating you choose.
So, to answer this common and vital question, we have put together almost everything there is to know about anti-reflective coating.
Anti-reflective coating goes by a few other names such as anti-glare, non-glare, and AR coating. It describes a type of optical coating that is applied to the surface of lenses to reduce the reflection of light. In imaging systems like a camera, AR coatings enhance the efficiency of the system. Also, for other optical elements like a microscope or telescope, AR coatings help improve the contrast of an image by removing stray light. Hence, for eyeglasses with reflections removed by AR coatings, your eyes become more visible behind the lens giving you enhanced visibility.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
The anti-reflective treatment or coating comprises layers of metal oxides which are applied to both the back and front of prescription lenses or any optical elements that require it. Each layer of the metal oxide is carefully calibrated and designed to block reflected light. These range from glares to halos around lights at night.
There are different choices you can make when it comes to anti-reflective coating for eyeglasses. We will discuss them as we go further in the article.
A HISTORY LESSON ON ANTI-REFLECTIVE COATINGS?
Contrary to what you may think, AR coatings are not a recent discovery. They didn’t just pop up in the optics industry, or any industry. They have been with us for a while and slowly developing.
It all started in 1886 when the simplest form of AR coatings was discovered by a man named Lord Rayleigh. According to the records, Rayleigh wondered about the difference between an old optical glass that had developed a tarnish and a new one with no tarnish. He found that the slightly tarnished glass reflected less light than the new pieces. The tarnish added two more layers to the glass interface and thus the reduced reflection. This simplest form of AR coatings discovered is known as the index-matching coatings. With the wheels now turning in the brain of most researchers and scientists, Harold Dennis Taylor a British Optical Designer for Cooke Company developed a chemical method for producing similar coatings. This happened in 1904.
By 1935, Alexander Smakula a Ukrainian Physicist invented interference-based coatings. He was working for the Carl Zeiss optics company at the time. Next, the Germans kept anti-reflective coatings as a military secret until World War II. And finally, Katharine Burr Blodgett and Irving Langmuir invented organic AR coatings in the late 1930s.
When AR coatings for eyeglasses finally became popular years ago, they came with drawbacks. They smudged easily and always needed to be cleaned. The coatings peeled off quickly, giving them a durability problem, and they scratched easily too. You probably recall this time. However, now with many years of technological advancement between then and now, AR coatings for eyeglasses are tough, durable, and highly functional for better vision.
THE IMPORTANCE AND BENEFITS OF ANTI-REFLECTIVE COATINGS FOR PRESCRIPTION LENSES AND ALL EYEGLASSES.
While there are many reasons why anti-reflective coatings for eyeglasses is something you should seriously consider, we will discuss some of them.
- Enhanced vision
With regular eyeglasses, you are often on the receiving end of a lot of reflected light. When this happens, you see with less clarity. For example, driving at night becomes a challenge with the glare and halos of other vehicles reflecting on your eyeglasses full time. It’s also the same when you work with a computer in certain environments. Anti-reflective coating for eyeglasses helps to reduce reflected light, thus increasing the quality and clarity of your vision. It literally enhances how you see the world and the difference is immediately clear when you compare an ordinary prescription lens to one with AR coating. An important benefit within this benefit is improved night vision that AR coatings offer.
We mentioned above how AR coatings from years ago had a major durability issue. AR coatings now are tougher and this translates to making your lenses last longer. Most coatings protect your glasses against smudges or scratches saving you money on constant lens replacement.
- Makes lens maintenance easy
Anti-reflective coatings for eyeglasses are waterproof and some are both waterproof and oil proof. This makes it easy to clean and maintain your prescription lenses, giving you the added advantage of easier maintenance.
- Better cosmetic appearance
Your beautiful eyes may be lost on someone looking at you because of the reflections from regular eyeglasses. Anti-reflective coatings have grown in popularity and approval due to major benefits like this cosmetic appearance. With coated and clear prescription lenses, people can focus on your eyes. You get to look better and have enhanced eye contact with others. If you do any public speaking, this is vital. It is also essential in a casual conversation and even when taking a picture. For you, it can also improve confidence as your clear vision makes you feel you are not wearing glasses at all.
- Reduces fatigue and eye strain
For most people who spend a lot of time in front of a screen such as a computer or TV, eyestrain and fatigue occur almost every day. This makes it harder to focus and easier for headaches to come up and stop your productivity. Anti-reflective coating for eyeglasses eliminates this problem letting you offer your best because you see better and you are protected from the stressful effects of the light reflection.
- Protection from UV rays
We have indicated that not all anti-reflective coatings are made equal. If requested, you can enjoy the added benefit of AR coatings that protect against the damaging rays of the sun. This coating can be added to the back of the lens to protect you from UV reflections and damaging rays.
DO OPTICIANS RECOMMEND ANTI-REFLECTIVE COATING FOR PRESCRIPTION LENSES?
Yes. Many Opticians recommend adding AR coatings to prescription lenses and other eyeglasses because of most of the benefits discussed above. From reducing glares to improved vision, Opticians believe that AR coatings offer a better experience and use of your lenses.
ARE THERE DRAWBACKS?
There are a few drawbacks of getting AR coatings. But it’s up to you to decide if the drawbacks are a deal-breaker when compared to the benefits. The drawbacks include;
- Anti-reflective coating for eyeglasses can often look dirty, like any regular pair of glasses when not cleaned or maintained as needed.
- They cost extra, and the figures vary with brands and type of coating.
IT’S ALMOST MANDATORY FOR HIGH-INDEX GLASSES
When it comes to high-index lenses or polycarbonate lenses, AR coatings are hardly optional. If you choose to do without the coating the discomfort involved will last throughout the lifetime of the lens. This discomfort is because high-index lenses reflect more light than regular plastics.
DO WE THINK ANTI-REFLECTIVE COATINGS FOR EYEGLASSES IS WORTH THE MONEY?
Yes, we do. Aside from making you look and interact better with others, the added comfort and clarity gained from AR coatings make it an upgrade we hope all our clients can make.
QUALITY BRAND AND TYPES OF AR COATINGS – THAT ARE ALSO AVAILABLE ON RX-ABLE
- Standard AR Coating from Rx-able – This type of coating comprises 4 layers that are scratch-resistant and easy to clean. As a standard AR coating, it reduces reflections giving better vision for day and night use.
- Premium AR Coating from Rx-able– The premium AR coating comes with 6 layers on each side of the lens. It is smudge resistant and hydrophobic making for easy cleaning and better scratch performance.
- Crizal Alize UV AR Coating– Crizal lens is a brand with global recognition. The Crizal Alize offers superior glare protection, repels water and is smudge-resistant.
- Crizal Avance UV AR Coating– This Crizal model has been with the optical industry for over a decade. It is a standard and reliable AR coating lens model reducing eye strain, providing UV protection, and of course clearer vision.
- Crizal Sapphire 360° UV AR Coating– The Crizal Sapphire UV coating offers best-in-class protection against UV light, smudges, scratches, water, and dust.
- Crizal Prevencia UV AR Coating– The Crizal Prevencia is everything that Sapphire offers with an addition of blue-light protection. It is the best all-round protection for your eyes.
Now that you are well informed, you can decide on if anti-reflective coatings for eyeglasses is worth the money. It’s essential to know that your regular prescription lens or glasses will function to their capacity without the AR coatings. Hence, if your budget is too tight to take advantage of the importance of AR coatings, you can do without it.