Ultraviolet (UV) Protective Coating
Our eyes are affected by exposure to ultraviolet radiation. Overexposure to UV light contributes to the development of cataracts, retinal damage and other eye problems. Experts report that as much as 80% of UV damage to our eyes occurs before the age of 18, making it even more important all of us to start protecting our eyes at an early age (Note: see chart under sunglasses for more specifics).
There are several different wavelengths of UV radiation including UV-A, UV-B and UV-C. The highest energy level and most dangerous UV wavelength is UV-C (100 to 280 nanometers) but is fortunately absorbed by the ozone. There is mounting evidence that UV-B (280 to 325 nm) is the most harmful wavelength to the eye. While UV-A (315 to 380 nm) is the lowest energy level, it still carries the potential to harm the eyes.
It is therefore strongly advised to protect our eyes from the harmful affects of UV radiation. Just as we protect our skin with sunscreen, we must also protect our eyes. The ultraviolet protective coating is simple and quick to apply to most plastic eyeglass lenses and it does not change the appearance of the lenses. Thus, UV protection can be applied to both clear and sunglass lenses. Sunglass and fashion eyewear standards for ultraviolet coatings are voluntary for manufacturers and UV protection can vary among manufacturers. It is therefore important to choose sunglasses that are labeled with a UVA/UVB rating of 100% to provide the most UV protection.
Note: Remember that certain oral and topical medicines, including aantibiotics, birth control, and benzoyl peroxide products can increase the sensitivity of your skin and eyes to UV rays. Check the label on your medicines and discuss the risks with your doctor. In addition, cosmetics that contain alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) also may increase sun sensitivity and susceptibility to sunburn. Look for the FDA’s recommended sun alert statement on products that contain AHAs.
Scratch Resistant Coating
All eyeglass lens materials are susceptible to scratching. The development of scratch resistant coatings first came about with the advent of plastic lenses. Since plastic lenses scratch more easily than glass, it was important to create not only a safer and lighter lens, but a lens that would withstand normal wear and tear.
Plastic lenses are more resistant to scratching when they are treated on both the front and back surfaces with a clear, hard coating. While most types of plastic lenses have built-in scratch resistance, it is important to confirm with your optician when placing your new prescription eyeglass lens order that your lenses are equipped with scratch resistance.
To keep your lenses looking their best, keep your glasses in a cushioned case. It is also important to clean them with a special microfiber cloth and cleaning solution recommended by your optician.
Anti Reflective Coating (AR Coating)
Anti-reflective, or anti-glare, coatings work to enhance the appearance of your lenses and the clarity of your vision. AR coatings are similar to the coatings found on microscopes and camera lenses. They consist of several layers of mineral deposits which are usually applied to both the front and back lens surfaces. Each layer is scientifically calculated to block reflected light, resulting in reduced glare, reflections and halos around lights. This is especially using for creating a clearer and more defined environment for night driving. AR coatings also work to reduce both internal and external reflections on the lenses themselves, creating the appearance of a thin, almost non-existent lens. Your eyes, and your vision, look more natural.
When applying AR coatings to your sunglass lenses, the coating is usually applied only to the back surface of the lens. This keeps smudges from becoming prominent on the front surface of darker lenses while still reflecting light.
To keep your AR coated lenses looking their best, keep your glasses in a cushioned case. It is also important to clean them with a special microfiber cloth and cleaning solution recommended by your optician.
Mirror coatings, also called flash coatings, are highly reflective lenses that offer a bold statement of color. Newer technology allows for a rainbow of color choices as well as silver, gold and copper metallic mirror coatings. Mirror coatings are purely cosmetic as they do not offer any additional clarity or reduced glare.