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How To Choose Lenses For Your Eye Glasses

Glasses lenses: Overview

The type of lenses in your glasses play a huge role in your vision, comfort and safety when wearing eyeglasses. The choice to buy the best lenses for your frames is not an easy task as there are different types of lens materials which come with different features and prices.

When choosing lenses for your glasses whether you are long sighted, shortsighted or you need reading glasses, these are the four factors to look out for:

  • Vision
  • Comfort
  • Appearance
  • Safety

Types Of Lens Materials

  • Glass lenses

In the early days of vision correction, all eyeglass lenses were made of glass. Glass lenses offer exceptional optics. But they are heavy and can break easily, potentially causing a serious eye injury or even loss of an eye. For these reasons, glass lenses are no longer widely used for eyeglasses.

  • Plastic lenses

They are lightweight alternatives to glass lenses and are called CR-39 plastic lenses. Plastic eyeglass lenses are about half the weight of glass lenses. They are relatively inexpensive and have excellent optical qualities. They do not break easily like glasses and therefore will not cause an eye injury.

  • Polycarbonate lenses

The first lightweight polycarbonate lenses for safety glasses were introduced in the 1970s. Since then, polycarbonate lenses have increased in popularity. They are lighter and stronger than regular plastic eyeglass lenses and will hardly break. They are great for children’s eyeglasses, rimless frames, sports glasses and safety glasses. 

  • Trivex lenses

Trivex, a new lightweight and impact-resistant eyeglass lens material, was introduced in 2001. Trivex lenses are a good alternative to polycarbonate lenses. They are lightweight and have better optical properties than polycarbonate lenses but not as light as lightweight as polycarbonate lenses. They are also an excellent choice for children’s eyeglasses, rimless frames, sports glasses and safety glasses.  

  • High-index plastic lenses

In the past 20 years, several different types high-index plastic lenses have been introduced. These lenses are significantly thinner and lighter than regular plastic lenses. They are an excellent choice for very high powered lenses.

Comparing lens materials

Here are popular eyeglass lens materials, arranged in order of refractive index and lens thickness (pretty good indicators of cost). Except for the crown glass, these are all plastic materials.

Lens Material Index Price (Naira) Key Features and Benefits
High-index plastics  1.74 ++++ The thinnest lenses available.

Block 100 percent UV.

Lightweight. The best choice for very high powered lenses

 

High-index plastics

1.67 +++ Block 100 percent UV.

Thin and Lightweight. The best choice for very high powered lenses

Tribrid 1.60 ++ Thin and lightweight.

Significantly more impact-resistant than CR-39 plastic and high-index plastic lenses (except polycarbonate and Trivex).

Higher Abbe value than polycarbonate.

Downside: Not yet available in a wide variety of lens designs.

Polycarbonate 1.59 ++ Superior impact resistance.

Blocks 100 percent UV.

Lighter than high-index plastic lenses.

Trivex 1.53 ++ Superior impact resistance.

Blocks 100 percent UV.

Higher Abbe value than polycarbonate.

Lightest lens material available.

CR-39 plastic 1.50 + Excellent optics.

Low cost.

Downside: thickness.

Crown glass 1.51 + Excellent optics.

Low cost.

Downsides: heavy, breakable, not safe

Eyeglass lens treatments

For the most comfortable, durable and best-looking glasses, the following lens treatments should be considered essential:

 

  • Anti-scratch coating

All lightweight eyeglass lens materials have surfaces that are significantly softer and more prone to scratches and abrasions than glass lenses. Plastic, polycarbonate, Trivex and high-index plastic lenses all require a factory-applied anti-scratch coating for adequate lens durability.

Most of today’s modern anti-scratch coatings (also called scratch coats or hard coats) can make lightweight eyeglass lenses nearly as scratch-resistant as glass lenses. See tips on how to care for your lenses

  • Anti-reflective coating

An anti-reflective (AR) coating makes all eyeglass lenses better. They eliminate reflections in lenses that reduce contrast and clarity, especially at night. They also make your lenses nearly invisible, so you can make better eye contact and you and others are not distracted by reflections in your lenses. AR-coated lenses are also much less likely to have glare spots in photographs.

  • UV-blocking and Harmful Blue Light treatment

Too much exposure to the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation and harmful blue light can harm your eyes. Over time, this can cause age-related eye problems including cataracts and macular degeneration. Here are Six things to consider when buying sunglasses

For this reason, people should protect their eyes from UV beginning in early childhood.

Polycarbonate and nearly all high-index plastic lenses provide 100% UV protection. If you choose CR-39 plastic lenses, these lenses need a special coating applied to block all UV rays and harmful blue light.

  • Photochromic treatment

This treatment enables your glasses lenses to darken automatically when exposed to the sun’s UV rays. The tint then quickly disappears when you go indoors. Photochromic lenses are available in nearly all lens materials and designs.

Cost of eyeglass lenses

Depending on the type of lenses and lens treatments you choose and the lens design you need, your eyeglass lenses can easily cost more than the frames you choose — even if you choose the latest designer frames.

So, how much will your glasses cost? That’s hard to say.

The amount you pay for your next pair of glasses will depend on many factors, including your visual needs, your fashion desires and whether you have vision insurance that covers a portion of the cost of your eyewear.

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WHY YOUR SUNGLASSES SHOULD FIT PROPERLY

Have you ever tried on sunglasses that you really wanted to have in your collection only to find out that they were completely uncomfortable? Or that after buying them, and wearing them for an hour or so, your eyes began to ache under the pressure? 

Sunglasses are necessary not only for protecting our eyes from ultraviolet rays but also to protect our eyes from the wind, dust, and other harsh weather conditions. They are also necessary to protect our eyes from the glare that is reflected off of surfaces like roads, highways, or water. 

Wearing sunglasses that do not fit can actually be harmful.

Reasons why your sunglasses should fit.

Wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes from dust or wind is much more effective when they fit perfectly to your face and do not move around. 

  • Wearing sunglasses that are too small for your face causes the tinted lenses to rest on the edges of your eyelids. This will make it uncomfortable.

  • Wearing sunglasses that are too big causes more ultraviolet rays to enter your eyes.
  • Sunglasses that are too loose can fall off during rough activities or when traveling at high speed. The best way to ensure a good fit is to have a professional optician take your measurements and find a good pair for you.
  • A good optician will also have a variety of sunglasses from which to choose. They should be able to show you different options that fit your face and the activities in which you plan on wearing them. If you are going to be traveling at high speeds or engaging in rough activities, they should be able to suggest a style and type that would provide the best fit.

Shop our collection of sunglasses here

In conclusion

The best way to determine the proper fit is to try on several pairs. If you wear sunglasses all year-round, it is worth investing in a nice pair that fits your face perfectly and lasts for many seasons. If you have never had the luxury of owning a good pair of sunglasses, it may be time to invest in some elegant sunglasses.

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HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR LENSES

You will agree that your lenses (including contact lenses) make a  huge difference in our lives.
Do you remember what it was like the first time you were able to see individual blades of grass and leaves on trees after putting them on, or read you bibles and other materials clearly?
It’s important to take good care of our lenses so that we can get the maximum benefit from wearing them.


Tips for Glasses Care

  1. Even with protective coatings, glasses tend to gather dust and oil as we wear them, and they require regular cleaning. As tempting as it is to reach for the corner of your shirt, it’s better to use a microfiber or cotton cloth and some glasses cleaner.
  2. Make sure never to use wood-based materials like napkins or tissues. Because they are made of wood pulp, they can scratch the lenses very easily which can affect the clarity of vision through the lenses .
  3. Also avoid using chemical cleaners like ammonia or window cleaner, because they can dissolve the protective coatings on your lenses.
  4. When you are not wearing your glasses, the best way to store them is in their case. Don’t fall asleep with them on, or you might damage them in your sleep!

Contact Lens Care and Safety

It’s a little more complicated to take care of contact lenses. This is because they sit directly on the eye, so hygiene is extremely important!

  1. Only handle contact lenses with freshly clean hands, and only use fresh contact lens solution to clean and store them, because it takes just one use for solution to become contaminated.
  2. Never use water or any other liquid on contact lenses (and definitely don’t use spit), because all sources of freshwater contain microorganisms that will contaminate your contact lenses.
  3. Follow the instructions on the packaging for how frequently to replace your lenses and how long to keep them in at a time. It might be tempting to use lenses beyond their recommended time but are your eyes worth the risk of a possible eye infection?

Preventing Eye Infections as a Contact Lens Wearer

A contact lens wearer should be diligent about minimizing the risk of eye infection by observing the following practices:

1. Do not rub your eyes (rubbing can damage the lens or introduce germs into the eye).

2. Blinking frequently to help spread tears over the surface of the eyes.

3. Drink water to stay hydrated

4. Use eyedrops when extra moisture is needed.

5. Follow the instructions for how long they are safe to wear and when to replace them!

Bring Us Your Lens Problems and Questions

If you have questions about how best to care for your lenses, whether glasses or contacts, just let us know! We want our patients to get the most out of their glasses and contacts.

Also, you can get in touch if you’re experiencing any redness, irritation or other symptoms from contact lens use. If everything is going well, still make sure to schedule regular eye exams! Not every eye problem or outdated prescription is obvious.

Our top priority is your lifelong healthy vision!

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SIX THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING SUNGLASSES

Everyone knows sunglasses make it easier to see on a sunny day and also a great fashion accessory. However, wearing the right sunglasses is also a great defense against ultraviolet (UV) rays that can cause short- and long-term eye damage or discomfort.

These are the most important factors to consider when buying sunglasses.

1. Make it 100 percent.
The most important thing to look for when buying sunglasses to protect your eyes is a sticker or tag indicating that they block 100 percent of UV rays. Most people buying sunglasses do not bother to check whether the lenses protect the eyes from ultraviolet light.
The eyes behind the lenses are fully exposed to UV light from the sun because the pupil becomes wider, therefore allowing more light (including UV rays) get into the eyes which exposes the eyes to conditions like cataracts, pterygium and macular degeneration.

2. Bigger is better.
The more coverage from sunglasses, the less sun damage inflicted on the eyes. Consider buying oversized glasses or wraparound-style glasses, which help cut down on UV entering the eye from the side.

3. Darker lenses don’t protect better.
While very dark lenses may look cool, they do not necessarily block more UV rays. They are only helpful for reducing the intensity of light getting to the eye.

4. Color doesn’t matter.
Some sunglasses come with amber, green or gray lenses. They do not block more sun but can increase contrast, which may be useful for athletes who play sports such as baseball or golf.


5. Polarized lenses cut glare, not UV.

Polarization reduces glare or reflection coming off reflective surfaces like water, road or pavement. This does not offer more protection from the sun, but can make activities like driving or being on the water safer or more enjoyable.

6. Cost shouldn’t be a factor.
Sunglasses don’t have to cost a lot of money to work well. Less expensive options marked as 100 percent UV-blocking can be just as effective as more expensive options.

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Do Glasses Make Your Eyes Weaker?

If you wear glasses, you may have wondered from time to time if they’re making your eyesight worse. Not while you’re wearing them, but when you take them off.

 

Everyone will need glasses at some point in their lives. And when it happens to you, you’ll probably ask yourself this question on the lips of every glasses wearer. 

 

There are two very different reasons why people wear glasses :

 

  1. Refractive Errors which are vision problems that make it hard to see clearly. They happen when the shape of your eye keeps light from focusing correctly on your retina. Shortsightedness, Long sightedness and Astigmatism are vision problems.

  • Presbyopia which is often age related. Many people begin noticing in their 40-50s that it’s difficult to read in low lighting. As we age the lenses in our eyes gradually lose their flexibility making it harder to adjust to different distances. When people get to the stage where their arms aren’t long enough to hold a book or menu far enough away to focus on the text, they opt for reading glasses if they engage in near work frequently.

 

If you think your eyesight has gotten worse since you’ve started wearing glasses, you’re far from alone. But the truth is many eye conditions, including presbyopia, get worse over time by themselves, specs or no specs.

 

In other words, it seems you cannot do without your glasses,  your glasses are not to blame but the ageing changes going on in your eye’s natural lens or the shape of your eyes..

 

What glasses have done to help you see clearly and comfortably. So when you take them off, the blurriness is very noticeable or your headaches become worse as a result of eyestrain.

 

So if you want to see well throughout life, wearing glasses or contact lenses is pretty much inevitable – and not harmful. 

 

Wearing glasses does improve eyesight–but only while you’re wearing them. Wearing glasses however does not make your eyes weak. Ensure you re-examine every 1-2 years or as advised by your Optometrist so that you  are wearing the right prescription always.

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PROTECTING AND ENHANCING YOUR VISION WITH LENS COATINGS

From the early days of purely glass lenses to the advanced materials we use now, the technology in prescription lenses is constantly improving.

Lens coatings can enhance the durability, performance and appearance of your eyeglass lenses. This is true whether you wear single vision, bifocal or progressive lenses.

Today, special lens coatings improve and protect our vision in ways we could only dream of before.

If you are thinking about purchasing new eyeglasses, here are lens coatings and treatments you should consider.

Anti-reflective Coating Eliminates Lens Reflections

Anti-reflective coating (also called AR coating or anti-glare coating) is a microscopically thin multilayer coating that eliminates reflections from the front and back surface of eyeglass lenses.

By doing so, AR coating makes your lenses nearly invisible so people can focus on your eyes, not distracting reflections from your eyeglasses.

Have you ever noticed a bright glare on a window pane or reflective surface? If present on your eyeglass lenses, reflected light can be both a distraction and a potentially dangerous obstruction to your vision. Anti-reflective coating can applied to block reflections from both the front and the rear surface of your lenses. With these reflections gone, you’ll be able to see more clearly and your lenses will look nearly invisible, allowing everyone to see your beautiful eyes!

With reflections eliminated, lenses with AR coating provide better vision for night driving and more comfortable vision for reading and computer use.

Some lens materials are manufactured with anti-reflective coating by default, while others must be applied afterward.

Also Antireflective coatings have not only be made to block reflections, they also help to eliminate the 5 enemies of clear vision which are:

  • Glare which causes Eyestrain
  • Smudge which causes Light diffusion
  • Scratch which causes visual discomfort
  • Dust which causes blur
  • Water which causes distortion

Advanced Technology Protects Lenses From Scratches

Nothing is scratch-proof, but there are coatings to help make lenses more resistant to scratching. Lenses can be treated with a scratch-resistant coating to protect them from scuffs caused by all of life’s little mishaps. Children may especially benefit from such coatings as they are prone to accidents.

Even if your lenses have scratch-resistant coating, always be sure to maintain proper care for your glasses. Be sure to store them in a cushioned case when not in use, and always clean them with a microfiber cloth and a cleaning solution recommended by your Doctor.

UV Protection Isn’t Just For Sunglasses

We all understand how important UV protection is for our sunglasses, but this protection is just as important for our everyday lenses. Prolonged UV exposure can lead to a condition called photokeratitis—a sunburn on the eyes often called snow blindness— or have more serious consequences to our vision health including macular degeneration, retinal damage, or cataracts.

Many modern lenses are built with UV protection, but others require an additional coating to ensure 100 percent of UV rays are blocked.

Blue light emitted from the sun and electronic devices such as smartphones and computer screens also pose a threat to our vision health. Looking at screens for an extensive period of time can result in digital eye strain, causing vision fatigue and sometimes annoyances like eye twitching or red eyes.

While there are a number of things you can do to gain relief from digital eye strain, lenses are available that reduce the eye’s exposure to blue light. If you look at screens extensively for work or personal use, ask your optometrist if these lenses are right for you.

See Clearly With Your New Lenses

If you wear glasses, your lenses are the window to your world. We provide our patients with the latest in eyeglass lens technology to suit their unique vision health needs. If you have any questions about which lens coatings may benefit your vision, let us know! We’d love to help you find the lenses that are right for you.

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UV LIGHT AND THE EYES

The sun supports life on our planet, but its life-giving rays also pose dangers. The sun’s primary danger is in the form of ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Artificial sources include tanning booths, black lights, germicidal lamps, mercury vapor lamps, halogen lights, high-intensity discharge lamps, fluorescent and incandescent sources, and some types of lasers.

UV is invisible light from the light spectrum and so cannot be seen and exposure occurs even when we are not in the sun. Most people are aware of how harmful UV radiation is to the skin. However, many may not realize that UV radiation can harm the eyes, and other components of solar radiation can also affect vision.

There are three types of UV radiation:

  1. UV-C: This is absorbed by the ozone layer and does not present any threat.
  2. UV-B: These are partially filtered by the ozone layer, and in low doses stimulates the production of a skin pigment (melanin), which gives you a suntan. In higher doses, UVB will cause the skin to burn, which can increase the chances of skin cancer. UVB radiation can also cause signs of premature aging of the skin, such as wrinkles, as well as skin discolourations. Your eyelids can often be at risk of UVB exposure, especially if sun cream has not been applied and many creams recommend against application around the eyes, putting you at greater risk.
  3. UV-A: These rays are very close to a visible light ray and emits lower energy than both UVB and UVC rays. Though UVA rays are mostly harmless to skin, they can pass through the cornea of your eye and reach the lens and retina causing cataract and macular degeneration (This is an incurable condition that causes blurred vision in the center of the visual field).

If your eyes are exposed to excessive amounts of UV radiation over a short period of time, you will likely experience photokeratitis. Like a “sunburn of the eye,” photokeratitis can be painful. Its symptoms include red eyes, a foreign body sensation or gritty feeling in the eyes, extreme sensitivity to light and excessive tearing. Fortunately, these symptoms are usually temporary and rarely cause permanent damage to the eyes.

The longer the eyes are exposed to solar radiation, the greater the risk of developing early onset of cataracts or macular degeneration.

To provide adequate protection for your eyes, sunglasses should:

  • block out 99 to 100 percent of both UV-A and UV-B radiation.
  • have lenses that are perfectly matched in color and free of distortion and imperfection; and
  • have lenses that are gray for proper color recognition.
  • Prescription lenses should have UV protection e.g Transitions or Crizal coatings
  • Ensure you buy contact lenses with UV protection.
  • If you spend a lot of time outdoors in bright sunlight, consider wearing wraparound frames for additional protection from the harmful solar radiation.
  • Don’t forget protection for older citizens, children and teenagers. They typically spend more time in the sun than adults!
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ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT BLUE LIGHT

ABOUT THE LIGHT SPECTRUM

Light is made up of electromagnetic particles that travel in waves.  These waves emit energy, and range in length and strength. The shorter the wavelength; the higher the energy. The length of the waves is measured in nanometers (nm), with 1 nanometer equaling 1 billionth of a meter.  Every wavelength is represented by a different colour, and is grouped into the following categories: gamma rays, x-rays, ultraviolet (UV) rays, visible light, infrared light, and radio waves.  Together these wavelengths make up the electromagnetic spectrum.

However the human eye is sensitive to only one part of this spectrum: visible light. Visible light is that part of the electromagnetic spectrum that is seen as colours: violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange and red.  Blue light (blue, indigo and violet part of the visible light spectrum) has a very short wavelength of approximately 380-500nm thereby making it one of the shortest high energy wavelengths. Blue light is divided into two:

  1. Blue –Turquoise Light (Beneficial Blue Light)
  2. Blue –Violet Light (Harmful Blue Light)

WHERE  IS BLUE LIGHT FOUND?

Blue light is actually everywhere. When outside, light from the sun travels through the atmosphere. The shorter, high energy blue wavelengths collide with the air molecules causing blue light to scatter everywhere.  This is what makes the sky and sea look blue.

Sources of blue light include the following:

  1. Sunlight – the major source
  2. Fluorescent lamps
  3. LED devices
  4. Computer Screens
  5. Laptops
  6. Smartphones
  7. E-readers
  8. Tablets

WHY SHOULD WE BE CONCERNED ABOUT BLUE LIGHT EXPOSURE?

Blue light waves are the among the shortest, highest energy wavelengths in the visible light spectrum.  Because they are shorter, these “Blue” or High Energy Visible (HEV) wavelengths flicker more easily than longer, weaker wavelengths. This kind of flickering creates a glare that can reduce visual contrast and affect sharpness and clarity.

This flickering and glaring may be one of the reasons for eyestrain, headaches, physical and mental fatigue caused by many hours sitting in front of a computer screen or other electronic device.

Our eyes’ natural filters do not provide sufficient protection against  blue light rays from the sun, let alone the blue light emanating from these devices or from blue light emitted from fluorescent-light tubes. Prolonged exposure to blue light may cause retinal damage and contribute to age-related macular degeneration, which can lead to loss of vision.

WHERE IS THE INCREASED EXPOSURE COMING FROM?

The evolution in digital screen technology has advanced dramatically over the years, and many of today’s electronic devices use LED back-light technology to help enhance screen brightness and clarity.  These LEDs emit very strong blue light waves.  Cell phones, computers, tablets and flat-screen televisions are just among a few of the devices that use this technology.  Because of their wide-spread use and increasing popularity, we are gradually being exposed to more and more sources of blue light and for longer periods of time.

WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF BLUE-TURQUOISE LIGHT ON OUR HEALTH?

Most of us spend the majority of our waking hours staring at a digital screen. Studies suggest that 60% of people spend more than 6 hours a day in front of a digital device.

The Blue- Turquoise light can help elevate your mood and boost awareness, but chronic exposure to blue light at night can lower the production of melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep, and disrupt your circadian rhythm.

Harvard researchers have linked working the night shift and exposure to blue light at night to several types of cancer (breast, prostate) diabetes, heart disease, obesity and an increased risk for depression.

Researchers aren’t exactly sure why exposure to blue light at night seems to have such detrimental effects on our health, but it is known that exposure to light suppresses the secretion of melatonin and lower melatonin levels might explain the association with these types of health problems.

Blue –Turquoise light also helps boost alertness, heighten reaction times, elevate moods, and increase the feeling of well-being.

BLUE-VIOLET LIGHT AND DIGITAL EYESTRAIN

Most of us spend the majority of our waking hours staring at digital screen, whether it’s the computer at work, our personal cell phone, playing a video game, or just relaxing and watching TV.  Strain is often caused by the distance between the eyes and a digital screen and the distance between the eye and our devices is getting as short as 25cm or less.

Digital eyestrain is a new term used to describe the conditions resulting from the use of today’s popular electronic gadgets. It is a medical issue with serious symptoms that can affect learning and work productivity

Spending just two consecutive hours on a digital device can cause eyestrain and fatigue.

Symptoms of digital eyestrain, or computer vision syndrome, include blurry vision, difficulty focusing, dry and irritated eyes, headaches, neck and back pain.

Digital eyestrain does not just affect adults.  Children are also at risk for eyestrain due to their growing use of digital devices.  Children today have more digital tools at their disposal than ever before – tablets, smart phones, e-readers, videogames are just among a few.  According to a study by the Kaiser family Foundation, children and teenagers (ages 8-18) spend more than 7 hours a day consuming electronic media. Before age 10, children’s eyes are not fully developed.  The crystalline lens and cornea are still largely transparent and overexposed to light, so too much exposure to blue light is not a good thing.  Parents should supervise and limit the amount of screen time their children are permitted.

BLUE-VIOLET  LIGHT AND MACULAR DEGENERATION

There’s growing medical evidence that blue-violet light exposure may cause permanent eye damage; contribute to the destruction of the cells in the center of the retina; and play a role in causing age-related macular degeneration, which can lead to vision loss.

Melanin is the substance in the skin, hair, and eyes that absorbs harmful UV and blue light rays. It’s the body’s natural sunscreen protection.  Higher amounts of melanin afford greater protection, but as we age we lose melanin, so that by age 65 half of the protection is gone making us more susceptible to eye disease such as macular degeneration.

The retina is a very thin, multi-layered tissue covering the inner eyeball. The retina can be harmed by high-energy visible radiation of blue/violet light that penetrates the macular pigment found in the eye. A low macular pigment density may represent a risk factor for age-related macular degeneration by permitting greater blue light damage to the retina.

A Harvard medical study states that “High Energy Visible (HEV) blue light has been identified for years as the most dangerous light for the retina.  After chronic exposure, one can expect to see long range growth in the number of macular degenerations, glaucomas, and retinal degenerative diseases”.  And a paper published by the American Macular Degeneration Foundation (AMDF) reports that “the blue rays of the spectrum seem to accelerate age-related macular degeneration (AMD) more than any other rays in the spectrum”

WHO NEEDS PROTECTION FROM BLUE LIGHT EXPOSURE?

We all do! Everyone needs to take precautions against the effects of blue light.  Whether we work in an office or play in the sun; spend hours staring at a computer screen or texting on our cell phones, we are all being exposed to blue light.