Where to Buy Glass Eyeglass Lenses

While the use of glass as a vision aid has been around since 1000AD, the first pair of wearable glass aids dates back to about 1284. These devices of convex-shaped glass surrounded by crude frames proved helpful in magnifying letters for the aged, and a new technology was born. The very term we use to this day, “eyeglasses,” derives from a simple description of the invention.

Glass Eyeglass Lenses: Where to Buy Them

We’ve made a lot of progress in the industry in the last seven centuries, including the development of plastic and polycarbonate lenses, and glass lenses now account for less than 3% of the eyewear market. The main reason for this startling transition is that plastic lenses are much lighter than their glass counterparts. Glass lenses are also more prone to breakage during everyday use.

Despite this precipitous drop in popularly, glass hasn’t completely disappeared from the eyeglass industry, and the ages-old material continues to earn its keep. Glass allows for a higher index than plastic, so certain high-index prescriptions are not available in plastic form. Glass lenses feature far better scratch resistance than plastic lenses, and in terms of optics and clarity, glass cannot be beat.

Before deciding that plastic or polycarbonate is the only way to go, take a quick look at the various advantages and disadvantages of glass lenses.


  • Superior optical quality.
  • Excellent scratch resistance, so much so that no scratch-resistant coating is required.
  • Available in a higher index than plastic.
  • Anti-reflective coatings adhere particularly well to glass lenses.
  • Is often less expensive than comparable plastics or polycarbonates.
  • Cleaner, less noticeable edge when used for bifocals or trifocals.
  • Naturally more resistant to chemicals.
  • Changes very little over time and will not yellow over the course of its lifespan.


  • The Weight. Glass is at least twice as heavy as a comparable plastic or polycarbonate lens.
  • Less shatter- or chip-resistant than other material.
  • Requires a thick coat of tint and not available in all the color varieties of plastic.
  • Does not provide full UV protection without an additional coating.
  1. Dale says:

    My first pair of glasses were glass lenses. They gave me the best vision, once I got used to their strength. All subsequent prescriptions have been plastic, and never have the sharpness of vision as with the glass. I also like the greater thickness of glass.

  2. Doug DuCarme says:

    Hi, I can’t find anyone that makes a replacement GLASS prescription lenses for my sunglasses, (Randolph Engineering 52mm Aviator). I prefer a progressive Rx with a wide progression zone like the Zeiss DriveSafe lens in the dark grey/black tint. I won’t go back to plastic. Scratches soooo easy, and bright lights flair.

  3. Gail says:

    I’m looking for glass lenses because they seem to clean much better than plastic. Granted plastic is lighter but I hate the glare that I get

  4. Sharon Ducci says:

    I want glass only frames with glare resistance and scratch resistance. After buying three pairs of the plastic lenses that did not even make it seven months from time of purchase I do not want plastic ever again I’m practically blind with them

    • rxsafety says:


      I completely understand almost all of our frames can be made with glass lenses. I personally still wear glass lens sunglasses because they are the best quality product out there. We still manufacture quite a few pairs a day of dress eyewear with glass lenses for people looking for quality lenses. Let me know if you need any help picking a frame out.

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