The Importance of Lens Quality
One piece to realizing your best possible vision is an accurate prescription, but another important piece is making sure that you have quality materials to correct your vision. The quality of your lenses is important and not all eyewear is the same.
Early corrective eyewear was made from glass. Glass eyewear was heavy and breakable and offered no UV protection at all. People with strong prescriptions would tend to forgo eyewear altogether to avoid the “coke-bottle” glasses look.
Standard plastic lenses were introduced in the 1960s. These lenses are very low cost and offer good optical quality but can be very thick for people with higher prescriptions. They can also crack when drilled so standard plastic may not be a good choice for people who would like to go with a rimless design. They can also have a tendency to scratch easily.
Polycarbonate lenses were introduced in the 1980s and are impact resistant and light. They can be a good choice for people who play sports or could be rough on their glasses. Polycarbonate lenses also provide UV protection to help protect the eye from UVA and UVB rays.
Trivex lenses are the newest technology on the eyewear landscape. They do a great job of vision correction, offering very high optical quality and can still maintain a thin look.Trivex lenses are lighter than polycarbonate but still offer similar impact resistance and UV protection.
After you choose what material your lenses are made from, you’ll want to consider which additional coatings to aid your vision and to protect the life of your lenses. I always recommend a glare-free coating which will help people who work in an office setting or drive at night. A coating that blocks blue light is ideal for people who spend a lot of time in front of a computer screen. I also recommend that everyone should consider adding UV protection to their eyewear, whether the lens material offers 100% protection on its own or if an additional UV coating should be added.
I like to compare choosing eyewear to driving a car. While the technology from 60 years ago can still get you from point A to point B, current advances are designed to make sure you get there with increased safety and comfort. The newest technological advances in eyewear are designed to help you realize your best possible vision. Your EyeCare Specialties optometrist will be able to recommend the right lenses for you based on your lifestyle and your prescription.
UV Rays in Winter
Even though you’re not lounging at the beach or taking in a baseball game in February, your eyes still need protection from the harsh rays of the sun. UVA and UVB rays are still a threat to your eye health. UV rays can come to us directly from the sun, scattered through the open sky, or they can be reflected off surrounding environments. Snow reflects 80% of UV rays back to our eyes.
While most people know it is important to protect our eyes from UV rays, almost half of us don’t wear sunglasses because we simply forget. Sunglasses can help prevent wrinkles, age spots and medical issues. Too much UV exposure can put you at risk for macular degeneration, cataracts, retina damage and ocular cancer.
UV damage is cumulative. We start the damage early in our lives often as children, and it gets gradually worse over time. Damage can not be reversed, but starting to wear sunglasses now will help.
Sunglasses with 100% UV blocking can help prevent those issues as well as prevent wind damage and reduce bright glare. Snow-blindness (photokeratitis) is another condition that can occur when you spend too much time outside in winter. Conditions can include redness, puffiness around the eyes, burning, watering and sensitivity to light.
There are many options when it comes to protecting your eyes from the sun during the winter months: prescription sunglasses, clip-on lenses and photochromic (Transitions®) lenses that change color when you go from inside to outside. If you’d like to stick with clear lenses, Trivex lenses can help shield your eyes from UV rays. If you enjoy winter sports, your eye doctor might recommend wrap-around sunglasses or goggles to protect your eyes.
Don’t forget eye protection for your kids. Because children’s eyes are extremely sensitive to UV rays, now is the perfect time to get them in the habit of wearing protective eyewear when they go outside every day.
Ask your doctor what is right for you. Your EyeCare Specialties optometrist will have some great suggestions and continually monitor your eyes to make sure they are as healthy as can be.