Do I Need High Index Lenses for Sunglasses?

Searching for new sunglasses can be overwhelming. There are a variety of designs and features you can select. In fact, the more that you look and analyze your options, the more difficult the decision can be.

But having said that, you may be curious about one particular feature—particularly if you have sensitive eyes. You may come across products called high index lenses. They sound fancy and a particular merchant or eye doctor you encounter may be trying to convince you to purchase them. However, you may not be sure whether you should take the plunge and spend the money on these high index lenses.

We are here to help. Below is a brief guide on things you should think about when contemplating the purchase of high index lenses for your sunglasses. While you will ultimately need to make the decision yourself, the guide below should stimulate your thinking when deciding whether or not to buy high index lenses.

An Introduction

To start off, it is helpful to provide a simple definition of what high index lenses are and how they could potentially benefit you in your day-to-day life. They are more comfortable because they use less material than standard plastic or polycarbonate frames. While these regular glass lenses to cure nearsightedness or farsightedness are often quite thick and heavy, high-index lenses can offer the same protection while being less clunky. This is especially relevant if you need an extremely strong prescription, as glasses without high index lenses can become too bulky.

Considering this basic introduction, there are certain advantages and disadvantages.

Let’s start with the advantages.

First, as we alluded to above, high index lenses are more comfortable. While the frame of your glasses plays a large part in your overall comfort, heavy lenses can contribute to feelings of soreness or fatigue. Especially because you likely need to wear your glasses all day, every day, the fatigue can add up. By contrast, lenses are lighter, which takes some weight and pressure off of your face. While you may not initially consider heavy lenses to be a major factor when purchasing your sunglasses, it does play a role and is something that you should contemplate.

Beyond the sheer comfort of these type of lenses, it can offer more UV protection than other lenses. As you likely know, UV protection can help prevent harmful rays of light from entering and damaging your eyes. In other words, they can help keep your eyes healthier for longer. Lenses tend to have built-in protection of some type, compared to other lenses which often do not provide a similar amount of protection. Ultimately, UV protection is something that you should absolutely prioritize if you are outside for most of the day and/or if you live in a sunny climate.

In addition to the lighter nature of high index lenses and more significant UV protection, more fashionable. It may be somewhat harsh to say, but as your prescription gets stronger, your glasses become more unfashionable. This is because your sunglasses need to get thicker. There’s no way around it. By contrast, if you use high index lenses, your sunglasses will be thinner, not clunky.

Importantly, by using high index lenses, you can also select frames that you actually like. This is because high index lenses continue to fit the vast majority of frames out there. Without using high index lenses, however, you may need to resort to frames that don’t appeal to your aesthetic style. Their thickness may prevent you from purchasing your favorite frame.

So as you can see, there are some key advantages to using lenses for your sunglasses. It isn’t all positive, however. There are some disadvantages to purchasing high index lenses.

One of the most distinct disadvantages is that they are not particularly useful for active users. By active users, we mean those that wearing their sunglasses while working out or playing a sport, for instance. This is because they are not as safe as polycarbonate or trivex lenses if you are quickly moving around with your sunglasses. If you see yourself heavily relying on sunglasses when working out or being active in the world, high index lenses may not be the best for you.

In addition to this disadvantage, high index lenses may not necessarily be worth it if you have a mild prescription. Yes, the lightness of high index lenses can provide you additional comfort and can look stylish. But if you do not have a strong eye prescription, you may simply be wasting your money by purchasing lenses with a high index. Besides some of the comfort and aesthetic benefits, there is no real advantage to having high index lenses if you have a mild prescription.

When You Should Use Them

Ultimately, high index lenses in your sunglasses can be useful in certain situations. For instance, if you are an active individual who has severe farsightedness or nearsightedness, high index lenses may be the best choice for you. If you place a high preference on how you actually look with your glasses, then the high index lens route may be preferable.

However, there are certain circumstances where you likely don’t want to purchase. For example, if you have a mild prescription, then you likely can get away with polycarbonate or trivex lenses. Also, if you aren’t as sensitive about your appearance with thicker frames or lenses, then high index lenses may not be best for you.

These are not hard and fast rules. Rather, they are guidelines that can help make this decision easier. If you have a particular reason why you would or would not want to purchase high index lenses, so be it. But if you don’t have this personal reason, we would recommend that you follow the rules of thumb above. By doing this, you can make your decision easier while being confident that you are making the right choice. It will save you time and money while avoiding some headaches down the road.

The Right Choice—In Certain Circumstances

High index lenses can be a terrific choice for you. As we discussed above, they are effective, sleek and comfortable. While they may cost a few extra dollars compared to other lenses, this extra cost may be worth it for you. But having said that, the extra cost may not be worth it, so you want to sit down and determine whether high index lenses are right for you.

By engaging in some reflection rather than simply reacting to the worlds of your doctor or eyewear salesperson, you can ensure that you are making the best possible decision. However, if you do decide to purchase, we encourage you to get started today. Making that decision and actually following through with it will, in all likelihood, make your life easier and better. Sitting back and endlessly deliberating, however, will not be productive.

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