Manufacturing processes have become so sophisticated that there is now a dizzying array of lens material options available to consumers. To help you decide which lenses would work best for you, here are some descriptions of the most common lens materials we sell.
Lightweight and easy to customize with tints and prescriptions, plastic lenses are very popular, and indeed often the standard lens offered with sunglasses and eyeglasses.
The material used in most plastic lenses is "CR-39 allyl diglycol carbonate monomer". Despite this amazingly complicated name, this plastic material is able to focus vision as well as glass while having superior strength and other properties.
However, we don't recommend plastic lenses for rimless frames.
Polycarbonate lenses are an advanced plastic that is impact-resistant. Originally used for industrial safety glasses, you can now find polycarbonate lenses in eyewear for sports or for children, who regularly whack into things when they're playing, and need extra protection from broken lenses.
Polycarbonate lenses offer ten times the impact resistance of normal plastic lenses while also being 35% lighter and thinner. This makes them one of the most popular choices for glasses and sunglasses of all types.
HIGH-INDEX LENS 1.67
If you have a very strong prescription and/or are farsighted, you will probably want a pair of High Index 1.67 lenses. The material used in these lenses makes it possible to get rid of that "Coke bottle" look high prescription wearers are often stuck with.
High index 1.67 lenses can take a high prescription while being thin and light. And, if you're far-sighted, your eyes will appear much more normal to others behind a pair of these lenses, rather than unnaturally magnified.
HOYA HIGH-INDEX 1.70 LENSES
Hoya High-Index 1.70 Lenses are even thinner and lighter than high index 1.67 lenses. They also have the added bonus of coming with scratch-resistant, UV, and anti-reflection coatings as standard.
HIGH-INDEX LENS 1.74
For the highest of high prescriptions, choose the High Index 1.74 Lens. These lenses represent the latest in optical lens technology, offering the thinnest, flattest lenses available on the market. If your prescription is so strong that it regularly shrinks the appearance of your eyes behind your glasses, upgrading to High Index 1.74 lenses will provide the most natural look for you.
These lenses are also more impact-resistant than standard lenses.
SUN-SENSITIVE LENSES (STANDARD PLASTIC OR POLYCARBONATE)
Also known as transition or photochromic, sun-sensitive lenses darken in direct sunlight and turn lighter indoors. These lenses also provide 100% ultraviolet protection for wearers' eyes. You can further enhance these lenses by applying an anti-reflective coating to the back of the lens. We currently offer sun-sensitive lenses in both standard plastic or impact-resistant polycarbonate.
Photochromic lenses can be made for both prescription eyewear and non-prescription eyewear. They're usually available in brown and grey, and have a lifespan of about three years before the color-changing effect becomes weaker. However, optometrists recommend you change your lenses every three years, anyway.
Note: regular and polycarbonate sun-sensitive glasses won't darken behind the windshield of a car. See our DriveWear option below for lenses that transition when driving.
Like sun-sensitive lenses, DriveWear lenses darken in bright light and lighten to 50% clear indoors (they will still appear slightly tinted, in other words). However, DriveWear lenses are capable of darkening when behind the windshield of a car, too, allowing drivers an added measure of comfort and convenience. They're also polarized to cut down on glare.