Lens Upgrades: Improving The Most Important Part of Your Glasses

Lens Upgrades: Improving The Most Important Part of Your Glasses

When you buy glasses, you probably spend most of your time selecting frames you love -- frames that fit comfortably, express your personality, and suit your lifestyle.

Generally, that means you’re focusing on the brand, color, and shape of the frame.

While having great frames is important, it's the lenses that protect your eyes and correct vision problems.

Vision problems range from person to person, but the main refractive problems are nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and presbyopia.

These problems can often be minimized or resolved with the proper lens upgrades.

What are common lens upgrades for glasses?

A few common lens upgrades we offer at LensFactory are anti-reflective coating, anti-fog coating, photochromatic lenses, blue light lenses, and tinted lenses.

These lens upgrades offer all sorts of benefits, like reduced glare and reflections, protection from UV rays and blue light, minimizing foggy lenses, and let's be honest - some of them look just plain awesome (especially on you!).

All of these upgrades point back to the most important thing: keeping your eyes healthy and your vision clear.

Anti-reflective Coating for Glasses

The most common lens feature prescribed by your doctor will be anti-reflective coating, often abbreviated AR.

Anti-reflective coating blocks reflections and glare from overhead lights or camera flashes, so that other people can see your eyes. This lens upgrade also assists with nighttime driving because it blocks headlight glare from oncoming traffic and streetlights.

What is anti-reflective coating?

Anti-reflective coating, sometimes called anti-glare coating, is a lens coating designed to decrease or eliminate the amount of light that is reflected from your lenses.

The coating can be applied to the back, front, or both sides of your lenses to help reduce the amount of glare or mirror effect you get when looking into your lenses.

About 4% of light will be refracted at each surface of an uncoated lens. When anti-reflective coating is applied, it reduces the refraction to less than .1%.

So, instead of only 91% of the light that enters your lenses reaching your retina, 99.9% reaches your retina.

In plain language, you will definitely see better with anti-reflective coating on your lenses.

How is anti-reflective coating applied?

Anti-reflective coating is a layered combination of metals or oxides. These metals and oxides are put into a vacuum deposition coating machine in a powder form.

As the materials and lenses rise in temperature, the oxide powder coats the lenses in a specific order, depending on the type of coating being applied.

If you’re interested in how glasses are made, check out this cool video of our lab, one of the largest in the industry.

Fun fact: our lab manufactures approximately 6,000+ pairs of eyeglasses per day. Safe to say we know what we're doing!

Do I need anti-reflective coating?

Anti-reflective coatings will help you see better, without a doubt.

Upgrading will also enhance the clarity of your lenses and virtually eliminate the reflections that you and others would otherwise see in your lenses.

Anti-reflection coating reduces eye strain by allowing virtually 100% of available light to reach your eyes.

Are there different types of AR?

Yes! Like just about anything, there are name brands of AR coating available.

Here at LensFactory, we offer our house brand of anti-reflective coating, which was designed and formulated in-house to be a great alternative at less than half the cost of a name brand.

Is anti-reflective coating expensive?

Adding any feature to your lenses will increase the cost, that's a given. After all, there is more work and material going into your custom lenses.

Here at LensFacotry, we offer complete lens replacement for less than half the cost of purchasing through a retail store.

So, an upgrade for anti-reflective coating, for something you use daily and that helps you have clearer vision, is worth a nominal fee in our view.

To us and to most of our customers, anti-reflecting coating isn't too expensive. Anti-reflective is the most popular lens upgrade at LensFactory, with roughly 65% of our orders containing it.

Anti-Fog Coating for Glasses

Tired of having your glasses fog up every time you get out of your cold car on a hot summer day?

How about when you’re wearing a mask and your glasses must be cleaned after a few minutes after putting them on?

Our proprietary anti-fog treatment will keep your glasses free of fog!

We recommend anti-fog coating for medical professionals and other people required to wear a mask all day long.

Anti-fog coating is a treatment applied to the back of the lens, and you do not polish the back of the lens when cleaning them.

Photochromic Lenses

Photochromic lenses offer an all-in-one prescription eyeglasses and sunglasses solution.

These special lenses are manufactured with a mix of chemicals that react to ultraviolet (UV) rays.

The UV rays cause the lenses to darken into sunglasses when outside and exposed to sunshine. When the UV light is removed the lenses return to regular indoor eyeglasses.

Photochromic lenses do not respond to visible light - only to UV light. So, if you are outdoors or in your car and not exposed to UV light, they will not darken.

Most notably, photochromic lenses contain blue light filter, which helps protect your eyes from the glare from computer screens.

Photochromatic lenses have different degrees of darkness when exposed to sunlight.

We offer two types of photochromatic lens upgrade:

1) Our house brand, for light sensitive people who just want to shade their eyes in sunlight.

2) Transition© brand, which darkens to be more like sunglasses.

Both of these options are available when you're viewing lenses here on our website.

Are photochromatic lenses expensive?

Even though photochromatic lenses cost more than clear lenses, they can be quite cost effective.

With photochromatic lenses, you end up not having to buy two pairs of glasses: prescription sunglasses and normal glasses. You get the best of both, rolled into one simple solution.

That extra convenience is worth the cost!

Are photochromatic lenses sunglasses?

Like we mentioned, our in-house brand works great for people who want to shade their eyes in sunlight, but don’t want a really dark lens.

Conversely, we also offer the Transition© brand Xtractive photochromatic option. These provide a much darker lens in sunlight and are intended to act as sunglasses.

They filter out a good deal of the harmful UV rays emitted from the sun, leading to healthier and happier eyes. And as an added benefit, these also have blue filter built-in to protect your eyes from the computer and other LED screens.

What options are available for photochromic lenses?

Transitional lenses come in a myriad of styles, shades, and tints that should be suitable for anyone’s taste and fashion.

We offer three iconic lens colors – gray, brown and graphite green (G15).

If you are looking for better contrast to increase visual acuity for things like golfing and fishing, then photochromic brown is the color for you.

And if you are looking for the absolute darkest transition lens possible, you should veer towards Transition© Xtractive in gray.

Do photochromic lenses work in cars?

The traditional photochromic lenses we sell are designed to change color when exposed to UV light.

The windshield in your car has UV protection, so very little sunlight will reach the lens. So, our main options described above probably won't change much in your car.

That said, there are brands offered at a much higher price point that are particularly designed to change in your car. We're glad to help point you in the right direction. Please reach out to support@lensfactory.com for more information.

Do photochromic lenses work in cold weather?

Photochromic lenses are affected by colder weather, meaning they take a bit longer to react to UV rays in the winter time.

You may find your lens are slower to react the colder it gets.

>> Want to know more about photochromatic lenses? Check this out.

Blue Light Lenses for Glasses

What are blue light blocker lenses?

Sunlight is made of red. orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet light. When all these colors are combined, they come together and become the white light that we see. Different colors of light impact the eyes in different ways.

Parts of the light spectrum of wavelengths are UV (ultraviolet) light and blue light.

UV light spans from 10nm to 400nm and has been found to cause aging to our skin when exposed for long periods of time.

A slightly longer light wavelength is called blue light, which spans from 450 to 490 nm. This is believed to cause different, yet similar damage to the eye as UV rays.

Risks of Blue Light

Blue light is good for you during daylight hours, because it boosts your attention and reaction times. Unfortunately, it has the opposite affect at night when you want to try to sleep and relax.

With all the computers, cell phones, tablets and televisions increasing our exposure to blue light in the evenings, what you are viewing can create problems for the body’s circadian rhythm (biological clock).

This can have a negative impact on sleep patterns and rest. Research shows not sleeping well or getting enough sleep can contribute to cancer, diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

It's important to note that blue light penetrates all the way to the retina of the eye. Research shows that too much exposure to blue light, especially from LED lights, can damage light-sensitive cells in the retina.

This causes changes that resemble those of macular degeneration, which can lead to permanent vision loss. This is a serious problem with LED lights.

How To Protect Yourself from Blue Light

As addicting as our screen time can be these days, there's only one great solution to protecting yourself from the risks of blue light: reduce the time you spend looking at bright screens 2-3 hours before bed.

Also, if you work a night shift or use a lot of electronic devices at night, consider wearing blue-blocking glasses or installing an app that filters the blue/green wavelength at night.

Wearing lenses that block blue light will allow other colors of light through, but specifically block blue light.

    You can also reduce eye fatigue by taking frequent breaks while on your computer, smartphone, and iPad to allow your eyes to rest.

    Tinted Lenses for Glasses

    Lens tints serve a variety of important purposes. As we just pointed out, a well-tinted lens protects your eyes against UV radiation.

    Tinted lenses can also give you a high-contrast vision experience even in bright or diffused light.

    Sunlight tends to distort contrast and daylight hours have a high percentage of blue scattered light that overpowers all other colors. This leads to a low-contrast vision.

    Tinted lenses can filter the blue light radiation down to the optimum level, meaning objects appear with high contrast, and colors and details appear natural.

    Purpose of Tinted Lenses

    Tints filter light in different ways, and some tints do a better job at blocking light than others. Some tints can actually enhance colors, while others distort them.

    Tints have the ability to enhance vision in certain situations. Although you may admire a certain tint color, it may not be the best one for your lifestyle.

    How does tint on glasses affect vision?

    The color of the tint used on your lenses isn't simply a matter of style. Certain lifestyles and types of glasses, such as sport prescription glasses, call for particular upgrades and tints.

    Tinting blocks visible light while enhancing certain colors and can improve perceptions of contrast and depth.

    The most important question to ask when choosing a lens tint for both sports and casual wear are: when, where, and how are you going to use the eyewear?

    Black, rounded lens glasses sitting on green background.

    What tints are available for prescription glasses?

    At LensFactory, we offer a variety of tint colors in a variety of shades.

    • Tint #1 is a light tint
    • Tint #2 is a medium tint
    • Tint #3 is the darkest tint we can make

    Tint responds differently to material and coatings. Plastic will take a tint darker than a polycarbonate material, for example.

    Most prescription tinted lenses are specified both by their color and a number that indicates the approximate luminous transmittance of the lens.

    Light tints, #1 tints, have transmittance values of about 75% to 85% and are used as fashion tints.

    Medium, or #2 tints, have transmittances of about 50%.

    Dark tints, #3 tints, are commonly prescribed as sunglasses and have transmittances of approximately 20%.

    We also offer a G-15 tint. This is a green tint that was developed by the RayBan company as their signature tint.

    Slight blue tints on your prescription lenses can reduce glare from monitors and screens, making them ideal for office workers and people who use screens a lot.

    Brighter tints, like yellows and light browns are very cool. Not only do they look great, but they also provide UV protection and superior clarity. These tints can also be very effective at filtering out blue light from electronic devices.

    Rose tinted sunglasses, or pink tint, aren’t just a nostalgic way to see the world. They help to reduce blue light, which improves contrast by offering maximum glare and light protection. The high contrast makes them very soothing to the eyes and allows you to see details better, as well as visual depth. This makes rose tints ideal for lazy summer driving.

    Dark tints, like green or grey tinted sunglasses, are ideal for when you’re out and about in the summer sun. Dark tints mute brightness, but maintain clarity and strong contrasts. They are dark enough to provide protection from glare but are still light enough to ensure that your vision is not impaired.

    Are tinted glasses bad for your eyes?

    Tinted lenses that are too dark may pose a risk for healthy individuals when worn regularly indoors. Your eyes will begin to adapt to the darker view, which makes light exposure in the future feel brighter and sometimes painful.

    By doing this over a long period of time, your eyes can become more sensitive to light.

    Benefits of Yellow or Orange Tinted Lenses

    Yellow tints are said to be helpful for moderate to low-level lighting conditions. Surroundings may look brighter. Their contrast-enhancing property makes yellow glasses great for night driving or sports. That said, there may be some color distortion.

    Benefits of Brown Tinted Lenses

    Brown lenses are sometimes recommended for people with near-sightedness, or myopia. They may bring comfort to your eyes in sunny conditions or help you better see contrast.

    Benefits of Gray Tinted Lenses

    For those with hyperopia (far-sightedness), a gray tint may be beneficial. Gray lenses may also help your eyes deal with fatigue.

    Gray lenses also make good all-purpose sunglasses. However, if you are wearing base lenses that don’t block UV light, you will find that the gray tint will allow the pupils to open more, letting more UV light shine on the retina.

    Benefits of Blue or Purple Tinted Lenses

    Said to enhance color perception, blue or purple lenses might be worn indoors or outdoors. They offer some protection from highly reflective surfaces, like water, glass, or snow. Blue lenses are said to be beneficial in foggy weather as well.

    Benefits of Green Tinted Lenses

    If you’re going out to play golf or tennis in the sunshine, green lenses may help reduce eye strain by filtering the blue and UV rays.

    Benefits of Pink Tinted Lenses

    Rose-colored or pink tinted glasses can improve visibility for driving, depth perception and detail. Some precision-tinted migraine glasses have a rosy color to them.

    But not just any rosy coating will do — migraine glasses are specifically designed to filter certain wavelengths of light (e.g. light from fluorescent fixtures) that often trigger migraines.

    The more you know!

    Now you know more about lens upgrades than you ever hoped. If we can help you make a decision about a certain upgrade, or with your lens replacement in general, email us at support@lensfactory.com.

    You can learn more about lens replacement with our FAQs.

    And of course, we'd love to help you see better! We offer 100% online lens replacement at a fraction of the cost of brick & mortar -- keep your frames, love your lenses.