Skip to content

Eye Health Center

Font Size

Eyeglasses and Your Eyes

Eyeglasses today are fashion accessories, as stylish as purses and belts. In fact, you'll find familiar names -- Calvin Klein and Gucci, to name just two -- on your choice of frames these days. So don't fret if contact lenses irritate your eyes. Instead, scope out the latest fashion frames to give your face a fresh look.

What Types of Eyeglass Lenses Are Available?

As technology advances so, too, do eyeglass lenses. In the past, eyeglass lenses were made exclusively of glass. Today, most eyeglasses are made of high-tech plastics. These new lenses are lighter, do not break as easily as glass lenses, and can be treated with a filter to shield your eyes from damaging ultraviolet light.

The following modern eyeglass lenses are lighter, thinner, and more scratch-resistant than glass lenses or the older, common plastic lenses.

  • Polycarbonate lenses. These eyeglass lenses are impact-resistant and are a good choice for people who regularly participate in sports, work in an environment in which their eyeglasses may be easily scratched or broken, and for children who may easily drop and scratch their eyeglasses. Polycarbonate lenses also provide ultraviolet protection.
  • Trivex lenses. These lenses are made from a newer plastic with similar characteristics of polycarbonate lenses. They are lightweight, thin, and impact-resistant and may result in better vision correction than the polycarbonate lenses for some people.
  • High index plastic lenses. Designed for people who require strong prescriptions, these eyeglass lenses are lighter and thinner than the standard, thick "coke bottle" lenses that may otherwise be needed.
  • Aspheric lenses. These eyeglass lenses are unlike typical lenses, which are spherical in shape. Aspheric lenses are made up of differing degrees of curvature over its surface, which allows the lens to be thinner and flatter than other lenses. This also creates an eyeglass lens with a much larger usable portion than the standard lens.
  • Photochromic lenses. Made from either glass or plastic, these eyeglasses change from clear to tinted when exposed to sunlight. This eliminates the need for prescription sunglasses. These eyeglass lenses may not darken in a car because the windshield could block the ultraviolet rays from the sun.
  • Polarized sunglasses. Light reflected from water or a flat surface can cause unwanted glare. Polarized lenses reduce glare and are useful for sports and driving. These lenses may cause the liquid crystal displays on the dashboard of cars to appear invisible.

The type of vision problem that you have determines the shape of the eyeglass lens. For example, a lens that is concave, or curves inward, is used to correct nearsightedness, while a lens that is convex, or curves outward, is used to correct farsightedness. To correct astigmatism, which is caused by distortions in the shape of the cornea, a cylinder shaped lens is frequently used. Simply put, the eyeglass lens is a tool you use to focus light appropriately onto your retina.

Today on WebMD

Woman holding tissue to reddened eye
Learn about causes, symptoms, and treatments.
eye
Simple annoyance or the sign of a problem?
 
red eyes
Symptoms, triggers, and treatments.
blue eye with contact lens
Tips for wearing and caring.
 
Understanding Stye
Article
human eye
Article
 
eye
Video
eye exam timing
Video
 
vision test
Tool
is vision correction surgery for you
Article
 
high tech contacts
Article
eye drop
Article
 

Special Sections