If you are one of the thousands of people who wear reading glasses, you know that the biggest hassle is taking them everywhere and trying to protect them from scratches. More often than not, you may find yourself buying a new pair not because the old pair is broken or the prescription is out of date, but because they have gathered a collection of distracting scratches on the lens. The reason for this? Plastic lenses. From pharmacy ten dollar reading glasses to custom glasses made by your optician, plastic lenses may be considered the cheaper, more commonly used standard but they are generally a bad idea for reading glasses.
Having to wear reading glasses usually means you are at least a little bit far-sighted. Your vision is perfectly functional for normal day-to-day tasks that don’t require focusing closer than a foot from your nose, but those really up-close tasks take a little assistance. This means that your reading glasses go with you everywhere, often hooked onto your pocket, stowed in your work bag, or rattling around in a purse. Sometimes you remember to use the little case, but not always, and sometimes it seems that even if you obsessively use the case, the glasses still get scratched.
With plastic lenses, these scratches can come from anywhere. Scraping against a bag zipper as you stow them, knocking against other items in your bag, or even simply encountering a particularly rough thread of your pockets. Because of the nature of plastic lenses, which are much softer than glass, almost anything can scratch them especially if you live an active lifestyle and are constantly grabbing and stowing your reading glasses.
When you’ve gotten fed up with constantly replacing your scratched-up reading glasses, it’s time to seek a solution. Amusingly enough, the answer lies in older technology rather than newer. Plastic lenses have been highly developed in the last few decades and have become the norm for a number of reasons, but if you are a responsible adult in need of some high-quality eyewear, glass is often the better personal choice. When was the last time you saw a glass window scratched, much less so scratched up it can’t be seen through?
It takes a lot more work and a much sharper object to scratch glass lenses, especially in comparison to the softer plastic lenses currently used for most glasses. This means that your reading glasses will remain safe and scratch-free no matter where or how you stow them, in or out of their case, in your pocket with your pens and keys, or in your purse along with a variety of other essentials. Due to their increased durability and scratch resistance, glass-lenses are perfect for busy adults who constantly need to quickly access and put away their reading glasses.
For those who wear reading glasses with more than one prescription, as with those using a bifocal or trifocal design, you may have noticed that plastic lenses tend to create something like a color-bleed along the joins. This is called dispersion and often creates a blurry rainbow where the lens is not completely smooth, as with bifocal lines and any scratches. Dispersion also contributes to the Abbe, which is how much light can get through your lenses. As you may have guessed, plastic lenses have both higher dispersion and higher Abbe, increasing the amount of distracting prisms that appear in your vision while simultaneously decreasing visual clarity.
Glass lenses, on the other hand, create clean, dispersion-free bifocal and trifocal joins which do not create prisms and random lines of colored light in your vision while you’re trying to focus. This can be especially important if any of your work takes place outdoors in the sunlight or under a bright office halogen. Glass lenses also have a very low Abbe, letting almost 100% of the light that hits them pass through creating incredible clarity. A low Abbe not only lets you see more clearly, it also allows others to see your eyes without the risk of blinding them with light reflections off your lenses.
Now that you’re considering glass lenses, you may want to think about coatings. Your optician is sure to offer you a few but most of the coating guides assume you have plastic lenses. Because of this, you’ll want to go in with your own list in mind to pair with your new glass lenses. You don’t, for instance, need anti-scratch coating or to worry as much about microfiber cloths because normal t-shirt fabric shouldn’t be able to scratch the glass. However, glass does hold temperature more steadily and is, therefore, more prone to fogging when your environment changes temperature significantly so anti-fog coating is much more advisable. Likewise, most plastic lenses have some amount of UV blocking and if you’d like this feature with glass lenses, you might want to add a UV protection coat.
Reading glasses with real glass lenses are a wonderful way to treat yourself. While children, who go through glasses quickly, may be better off with nearly shatter-proof but scratch-friendly glasses, as a responsible adult on-the-go you deserve better. Whether you work in an office, lead a team of field service professionals, or are enjoying a retirement full of wonderful reading material, reading glasses with glass lenses will stay with you scratch-less and pristine for years, freeing you from the constant hassle of scratches, dispersion, and replacements. If you’re interested in getting a pair of glass-lens reading glasses for yourself, please contact us today!
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