Ask an Eye M.D. Answer Archive

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Question:
What are the advantages of anti-reflective coatings on eye glasses, if any? And what is the benefit of getting a polycarbonate lens instead of plastic ones?

Answer:
Anti-reflective coatings are heavily promoted by dispensing opticians. The coating does just what the name implies, that is, it decreases reflections of bright lights off of the glasses. Anti-reflective coatings also very slightly increase the light transmission of eyeglass lenses, but the increase is so small almost no one notices it. If you are someone who makes public appearances wherein spotlights or other bright lights shine on your face, anti-reflective coatings will make you more photogenic. Be aware that most of the lower-cost anti-reflective coatings make the glasses lenses difficult to keep clean. (Unfortunately, anti-reflective coatings are often sold as protection against glare, but the glare protection from an anti-reflective coating is very slight. Adequate glare protection requires a polarized lens, which is only available in darkly tinted lenses.)

Answered by: Lee Duffner, MD Dr. Lee Duffner

Categories: General Eye Health

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Answered: Nov 23, 2010

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