Optician's Corner

Should You Invest in Thinner Lenses? Optician, Kaze Andino Answers.

If you are like us, and many patients, picking out a new pair of glasses can be exciting, and a little daunting.  Of course the frame is what many people focus on, but thinner lenses could be the key to whether a pair of glasses gives you the comfort and performance you want.

There’s no doubt that a lot of thought should go into selecting your frame.   You want something that feels and looks good.   You want something that matches your personality.  Frames are about function, but they can also be a form of self expression.   Shape, color, style, and branding all play a role to some degree.   As much time as we spend looking for the right pair of frames to show the world, we should also give the prescription lenses the TLC they need.  In the end, the lenses are really the whole reason we are getting glasses:  so we can see better!  Without the lenses we’d be a bunch of good-looking peeps with cool frames walking into walls.

When it comes to lenses, there’s a lot to consider.    For folks with certain prescriptions, lens thickness is foremost to consider.  So why does the thickness of the lens matter? Why should you invest your hard earn money on thinner lenses? Let’s dig a little deeper on the understanding on why it is important, as well as, how it is beneficial to your everyday living.

There is a magical source of energy that gives us the ability to see: light. Without light from the sun or even a flash light our eyes will not have this amazing ability to see objects, shapes, or even depth.  Light enters the cornea in route back to the retina, and your eyes turn all this information into a picture that your brain perceives as your visual reality.  In order for that to happen accurately, the light must come to a perfect focus on the retina.  When that doesn’t happen naturally, prescription lenses help bend and focus the light clearly inside the eyes.  The type of material and the level of thickness will determine how fast the light travels through the lenses.

Thinner lenses and ultra thinner lenses are made of a material that bends light faster than regular plastic lenses.   So, you need less lens material to do the same job compared to old fashioned lenses.    How much thinner can these lenses be made?

That depends on your prescription, but for many people the differences can be very noticeable.   For some prescriptions, thinner lenses are 25-30% thinner AND lighter compared to old-fashioned, basic plastic lenses.   Some prescriptions will benefit even more with Ultra thinner lenses, which could be up to 45% thinner and lighter.   Those are big differences.

The impact of this is pretty clear (pun intended).   Thinner lenses will look better.   They’ll be easier to have the lens edges hidden within the frame of the glasses.   They’ll look less noticeable when people look at your glasses.   And, they’ll feel better.    If you wear your glasses all day, imagine how much better you’d feel if they were anywhere from 25-45% lighter!   That’s less weight on the nose pads and arms.

And there are vision improvements gained by thinner lenses.   Clarity improves with these lenses compared to a standard polycarbonate lens material.    That’s because thinner lenses have less “chromatic aberrations,” which is a fancy term for how different colors, or wavelengths, of light pass through the lens and create distortion.    Combining thinner lenses with no-glare treatments makes this visual performance and comfort even better, especially for night driving and working on computers.

So, next time you are picking out new glasses be sure to have a good conversation with your optometrist and optician about the role of the thickness of your lenses.   For many patients, thinner lenses improve function and comfort, as well as accentuating the style of your new frames.

Thinner is better when it comes to your lenses.

by Kaze Andino, Optician @ Coastal Vision