Are anti-reflective anti-glare lenses worth the cost?

Getting the best value for your money when it comes to eyeglasses, sunglasses, eye exams, and contact lenses.

Postby george » Fri Aug 14, 2009 11:09 pm

<Update November 30, 2012 - Bottom line is anti-reflective coatings do work, but you don't need to pay a lot extra to get it from places like Costco or Zenni>

Since I just got back from Lenscrafters, and the optometrist was saying that I should really get anti-reflective lenses (anti-glare) to replace my current lenses, I figured it was worth doing a bit of research. While I was at the store, I decided not to get them because the lenses suggested were around $275 and my insurance benefit won't pay for new lenses for another year. Also, my prescription hardly changed from last year so I didn't think it made sense to pay that much money just to get anti-reflective lenses.

So - what did I find out about these lenses? A lot of different opinions out there - most of them not very helpful.

First I came across an article reporting that anti-reflective lenses had typically only been available on glass lenses. However, Lenscrafters came out with a plastic anti-reflective lense which they would be promoting to try to improve their market share. It was one of the first plastic lenses that would have anti-reflective coatings and be anti-glare that could be made in an hour, so it was perfect for lenscrafters. My first reaction was thinking that was the reason the optometrist recommended it - just pushing one of their own products. Then as I looked more carefully at the news article, I realized it was from 1998. Clearly it isn't the newest thing for Lenscrafters to be pushing. At that time they were called "Invsibles" claiming 90% less light reflections and glare than standard lenses. In that article, the prices were quoted as between $130 and $250.

Next I thought maybe I should just look at the Lenscrafter's website. I found a nice comparison page there. I first realized that I misspelled "featherwates" in my other article here - as I spelled them featherweights. It appears that Lenscrafters sells two different versions of their anti-reflective lenses. They have the Superview 1.67 (AR) and the Featerwates Complete. Based on their chart, they claim that both anti-reflective lenses are better at being easy to clean, reducing reflections, reducing reflected light during night driving, and reducing eye strain when using the computer. I'm guessing this is why the optometrist had asked me if I saw glares or halos around lights when driving - both of which I said "no". I've never noticed problems from reflected light or glare with my glasses. The chart also indicates that the difference between the Superview and the Featherwates Complete is that the Featherwates are better for being durable, scratch resistant, and offering protection while playing sports.

This information opens up an entirely new topic for discussion - maybe an article for another day - that is high-index lenses, which is what the Superview 1.67 appears to be.

So, back to the purpose of this article - what are the advantages of anti-reflective coatings and are they really worth it. There wasn't much information that I could find on Lenscrafters site, so I kept looking for an answer.

I found several articles about anti-reflective lenses, and I don't think they were all just propoganda for the product. Several comments on websites were by eye care specialists, such as optometrists. The few comments that seemed pretty consistent is that anti-reflective coatings do work. They significantly reduce the amount of light that gets reflected off of the lense. By reducing the amount of reflected light, you get much less glare as well as more light passing through the lens.

Unfortunately, after much searching, I couldn't find anything that I would consider to be really good research on the benefits of anti-reflective lenses. The closest I could find was this article. The article compares four different kinds of lenses to see which people liked the best. They had plain plastic lenses, plastic lenses with anti-reflective coating, transition lenses (I believe these are lenses that get dark when exposed to bright light), and finally transition lenses with anti-reflective coating. I wasn't able to tell from the article whether it was actually published anywhere other than on the website. Most valid scientific research would get published in a peer-reviewed journal. This article is only published on a website which is created to promote one of the products in the study. Not surprisingly, the study found the transition lenses with anti-reflective coating was the most preferred lense. I think the potential for bias is way too high in this study to put much weight into it. However, there was a group where they compared plastic lenses to plastic lenses with anti-reflective coating. I am guessing the Transitions people aren't also promoting an anti-reflective coating, which means the data from that group may be more believable. In that study group, 72% of people preferred having an anti-glare coating and 28% of people preferred not to have the coating. That's a pretty big difference, but obviously some people still like the traditional lenses without an anti-reflection coating.

Reading people's comments on different websites, it seems that the majority of people who have anti-reflective lenses really like them. They report much less bothersome reflections and glares in dim and dark situations, with night driving being a particular situation commented upon. It is also felt that frequent computer users will have less eye strain with a non-reflective lense.

The other big issue, which I probably over-discount, is that people say that anti-reflective lenses look better. There is much less reflection seen on the lenses themselves, so people can see your eyes and face more clearly. Some people commented that it looks like they aren't even wearing a lense in their frames. They say that for people on TV it may make the biggest difference. Something to think about if you have nice looking eyes that you don't want to hide in any way.

As for the cost and where it is best to get anti-reflective lenses, I can't really say. Where I could find information, people seemed to suggest that the anti-reflective coating will add around $45-60 for the lenses.

As I do a lot of computer work and I wear my glasses all of the time, it may be worth that cost for anti-reflective lenses (not the $275 I would have had to pay today though).

If anyone has additional information on this topic, I'd love to read what you have to say.
george
 
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Postby george » Fri Aug 14, 2009 11:11 pm

george
 
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Postby george » Mon Oct 05, 2009 10:44 pm

I just got my super-inexpensive glasses from Zenni Optical today. It was only $4.95 to upgrade their polycarbonate composite lenses to have an anti-glare coating. So far, I'm very happy with the result. As I mentioned in the above linked thread, aside from the decreased overall glare / reflection, I did notice some green reflections from very bright lights. I did a bit of reading around on-line and found that this green color is a side-effect of the anti-reflective coatings. Some companies make coatings that cause a blue color instead. In a normally lit room, I don't notice any of the green, but it was very obvious when the sun was setting and shining directly from behind me. I can also see it when I intentionally hold the glasses up in front of me and try to see the reflection of my ceiling lights. Wearing the glasses - I really don't notice it.

So - as to the original question as to whether anti-reflective coatings are worth the cost - I do have to say they are definitely worth the cost when paying $4.95 from Zenni. My old plastic CR-39 lenses didn't have an anti-reflective coating and they really aren't too bad as for glare and reflections (although easily not as good as the Zenni glasses with the coating.

From what I've been reading, higher index lenses will have more reflection and glare, so it is probably more important to get an anti-glare coating when using polycarbonate lenses, especially if you are going with a high index lense (thinner lenses for stronger prescriptions).

While I was researching the costs of glasses at different stores, I was able to find out this information regarding the cost of anti-reflective coatings:

Lenscrafters:
Standard polycarbonate lenses are $190 and if you add an anti-reflective coating (which may also have a stronger anti-scratch) it comes to $325 for a whopping premium of $135 to get an anti-reflective coating at Lenscrafters.

Costco Optical:
Polycarbonate lenses with anti-reflective (and anti-scratch) coatings are $74. I'm not sure how much less without the anti-reflective, but I'd say this seems like the best deal that isn't online (and what I will probably do next year when insurance will pay for a new pair of glasses).

Wal-mart Vision Center:
Plastic lenses $30. Add another $35 for anti-reflective coating.
Polycarbonate lenses with anti-reflective (and anti-scratch) coatings are $118. Still far better than the $325 from Lenscrafters, but I'm not sure how much extra they charge for the anti-reflective coating. My guess is that with polycarbonate they strongly push the anti-reflective coating as the index of polycarbonate is higher than plastic, thus you get more reflections.
george
 
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Postby george » Thu Oct 29, 2009 10:02 pm

Overall, it seems that a good anti-reflective coating is a good option, but it can be pricey. Some of the newer anti-glare coatings also have treatments to repel dust and water, making them easier to clean as well.

Someone else started a discussion here comparing the different Scotchgard lens treatments and after some research, I also put together a thread comparing the quality of various anti-reflective treatments.

Hopefully you'll find the information helpful.
george
 
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Postby LesfromNJ » Wed Oct 27, 2010 7:57 pm

It is possible to buy excellent Varilux progressive glasses from 39DollarGlasses. The charge $24.95 additional for the anti-glare coating. Plus I am very happy with my first pair and I'm about to buy my second.
LesfromNJ
 

Postby george » Wed Oct 27, 2010 8:27 pm

LesfromNJ,

Thank you for your feedback and information. There is a thread specifically on 39dollarglasses here. I did mention in that thread that their anti-reflective coating is $24.95 and seems to be of decent quality based on the feedback I could find. I'll add your information to that thread in that you have had a good experience and that they offer Varilux. It seems that the customer service there has had some problems, so it is always good to get some balanced feedback.
george
 
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Postby brenda » Tue Nov 02, 2010 6:14 pm

I have worn glasses since i was 3 years old. I am farsighted and have to buy a High index lens because my RX is a +5.75 which a I think my preference of anti ref. lens has a lot to do with my RX well because my RX is already like a magnifying glass so the reduction of glare is well worth the cost! MY personal proof on anti-reflective lens's....I went on a extended Vacation and forgot my glasses, I couldnt do with-out so I went to a lenscrafters and didnt get the coating...ooohhhh boy i couldnt believe the difference of not having the coating...its one of those things that I took for granted with my regular lens's i forgot at home.
I have to say that my last pair i purchased were from Sams Club and the coating didnt seem to stay as well as the coating from a previous pair I purchased at LensCrafters, but with the lenscrafters coating I had a hard time keeping them clean..... I imagine the technology has improved.
brenda
 

Postby george » Wed Nov 03, 2010 11:19 pm

Brenda,

Thank you very much for your comments. The technology has improved as far as being able to keep anti-reflective lenses clean. I actually put together a lengthy explanation of the best way to clean anti-reflective lenses. The biggest improvements seem to be in the scratch resistant nature of the coatings as well as the hydrophobic properties - meaning how well the lenses will repel water and some ofthe higher quality anti-reflective coatings have an oleophobic surface - meaning the lenses repel skin oils and smudges. I find that with both my Zenni optical glasses and my Costco glasses, they are very easy to clean. I just rinse them off and then wipe them with a microfiber cloth. The Zenni lenses have held up very well over the past year with no signs of scratches or degradation of the anti-reflective coating. I am assuming that the Zenni anti-reflective coating is one of the cheapest available as they only charged $4.95, but the results have been fine. My Costco glasses are still too new to tell how they will be long term, but I expect them to be at least as durable as the Zenni lenses. My glasses may not be the best examples for quality of anti-reflective lenses as I have a very weak prescription and I'm not using high index lenses.

If you do have high index lenses, you are much more likely to get glares and reflections. High index plastics will reflect more light than the normal index plastic, thus causing more of a glare. If you are getting a high index lens, it seems you'll definitely get a significant benefit from an anti-reflective coating.
george
 
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Postby cineloh » Sat Mar 26, 2011 5:18 am

Warby Parker glasses come with Anti-Reflective Polycarbonate Lenses all for $95. WP FTW.
cineloh
 

Postby shannon L » Sat Apr 23, 2011 8:11 pm

Hi,
I am a previous employee of LC. I will tell you my honest opinion about these lenses

In my opinion, anti reflective lenses are superior for vision quality only if u are very careful with your lenses and you keep them clean. Since AR lenses are better at absorbing light, they also show more dirt on the surface of the lens. If you are lazy about keeping your glasses clean, this will be a pain for you. the scotchguard (hydrophobic) coating that you can add makes a difference but its very expensive. Also....since ar is a thin coating, it will inherently wear down over time and it is quite delicate. I will say that I have had both the scotchguard brand and the featherwate completes and the scotchguard is definitely more durable.

So is it worth the money??? if you can afford it, yes. if not, dont put urself in financial debt over it. many customers say that they cannot tell a difference between the two. Some people are just more sensitive to vision disruptions than others.

Also, as far as their high prices....the quality of lenses that they offer, in my opinion, are negligibly superior to other brands. So if you are considering lenscrafters for their lens choices, you may want to think other wise. I will say that their frame selection is superior to most other low cost optical stores. Of course, im very cheap and i think that the prices they charge are ridiculous. But I do think that much of that cost is from the amortization of all the lab equipment that they have in each store. Several machines that they use to make ur lenses in about an hour cost more than my car. When cranky customers ask me why our prices were so high, I would try to explain this concept to them..but that was a bad idea since it made them more pissy (I am not a natural sales person type--now im working for an insurance company away from any customers)
shannon L
 

Postby george » Mon Apr 25, 2011 10:11 pm

shannon,

Thank you very much for your insights. I'm going to link to your post from the thread about Lenscrafter lenses, as I think you explained very nicely why Lenscrafters charges as much as they do, and also the advantages they offer with the large frame selection and ability to make glasses quickly.
george
 
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Postby DocBeth » Tue May 10, 2011 7:12 am

Thanks so much for this post! I'm getting new lenses at Dr Bizers tomorrow and they want 50 bucks extra for the anti-glare lenses. I don't see so well on rainy nights with headlights shining in my eyes and the sales rep said this will fix the problem. The good thing about Dr Bizers is that money back guarantee-if I don't think its worth the cost, I can bring them back in 30 days and the will refund my money for the lenses and make the ordinary polycarbonates. (*Bifocals in my case)-I had one of the old RK surgeries so we'll see-I'm always bothered by the glare from my glasses at night when I drive.
DocBeth
 

Postby Paul » Tue Jun 14, 2011 10:51 pm

I am concerned with the color shift on the AR lenses. I am a professional photographer and spend a lot of time working with color correction on the computer and while printing and if I have a significant green shift through the lenses it could be detrimental to my work. I just ordered the sample set of warby parker glasses to try on and make a decision to order from them and have noticed a huge color shift that I don't think would be acceptable. Has anyone else run into this problem and chosen to go without the coating due to the shift? Is the coating SO much better than not having it that I simply shouldn't consider not having it?
Paul
 

Postby george » Thu Jun 16, 2011 10:56 pm

I don't notice any color shift on my glasses with anti-reflective coatings (except residual glare that you get at wide angles and bright lights - which has a greenish tint on my lenses), but I'm not a photographer and may not notice subtle changes that you are able to detect. I am currently wearing costco glasses with an antireflective coating. You could check out a sample from Costco and maybe the way they do their antireflective coating is different than the sample you saw?

If you detect color differences, then I would suggest you get glasses without the anti-reflective coatings to use while doing photography work. After wearing glasses with anti-reflective coatings for the past two years, I have to say that overall it hasn't made a huge difference for me, but I have a very slight refractive correction. If I had high-index lenses then I would notice a much bigger difference as those lenses show more glare. You can always order a second pair of glasses with anti-reflective coatings to use when you aren't doing photography. You can get them very cheaply from places like Zenni Optical.

If you find any additional information on the topic, please share it, but I don't think there is that much information out there. Basically - people who don't like the look of an anti-reflective lens will just get a standard lens without the coating.

Do you get bothersome glare on your current glasses? If you aren't bothered by the glare, then you may as well avoid the anti-reflective coating on new glasses.
george
 
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Postby musicman » Fri Sep 23, 2011 6:05 pm

I purchased 2 sets of glasses from Dr. Bizer's and am not satisfied with either of the two levels of non-glare coatings that were put on the lenses. The first pair was their basic non-glare, and those were hard to clean (smeared with the cleaning solution) and scratched easily. I went back and they made a second pair with their "Clearshield" premium non-glare coating. Those were so hydrophobic, that when you sprayed the cleaning solution on them..........it all ran to the middle of the lens on the concave side..........or ran off the lens when the convex side of the lens was up. Once you tried to clean with a cloth specific for cleaning lenses..........it would just smear around and took several wipes to get the solution off the lens. But even worse, they were easily scratched in the cleaning process..........after only 2 months. This is not acceptable.
musicman
 

Postby nicj » Mon Oct 10, 2011 1:38 pm

I had to pay 90 extra bucks for anti reflective coating. But that covered both pairs of glasses I ordered. I originally ordered them without anti glare. I went to pick them up, tried them on and immediately said that they MUST add anti glare. It's a necessity for your glasses. I know it costs more, but I don't see why its not just a standard now.
nicj
 

Postby Dewy Seewell » Tue Oct 25, 2011 2:22 pm

I worked in an optical company wholesale house for 4 years. That is the "factory" that makes glasses for optomitrists to sell. Some single vision lenses, that is a simple prescription that is not a bi or triocal cost as little as $8 dollars or manufacture. More comples fasion eyewear and complex prescriptions cost between $25 and $50 to produce. Most glasses today take around an hour to produce as opposed to 8 hours 30 years ago. Most lens coatings are like the products sold by car dealers, which means that they are profit generators for the business. I got this info from the owner of a large chain of optical retail outlets in the northeast. Glasses generate a profit of from 100% to 2000% for a business. Glasses that will help you see well should cost under $100. Anything else is just SHEER PROFIT for the retailer. Do some resarch get the facts and let the buyer BEWARE.

Dewy Seewell :geek:
Dewy Seewell
 

Postby kjgarrison » Sun Nov 06, 2011 2:55 pm

Timely thread for me to find. As to whether anti-glare lenses are worth the cost, I'm going to have to say "it depends".

I just bought two new pairs of glasses from a local discount store, one for everyday use and one for computer use. The "guy" (optician?) said that my existing glasses had the anti-glare coating and that he did not recommend it. Said it was a waste of money, so I took his advice.

I ordered my two pair without the AG option. Things looked good in the store. I wore the normal distance correction pair on the drive at night home and didn't notice anything. Then I sat down to watch TV and noticed the reflections .... hmmmm .... was this something that my other glasses had and I had not noticed? It was a big blotch of light in the shape of the TV screen that moves in the opposite direction of head motion. Very prominent and annoying.

No, my old glasses did not have this at all. Not even a little bit. This is most easily seen, and compared to my old glasses that have the AG coating, looking from darkness into a point source of light or a TV. Both reflections off the front and back of the lenses is visible on the new, non-AG glasses while not at all visible on the older glasses with AG coating (same prescription, btw.)

Even the computer glasses, which I am wearing now, have this annoyance.

It is possible that there is more to this than just yes/no to AG coating. The lenses might have sufficiently different refractive indicies that make AG coating irrelevant. Maybe my asking for the lightest glasses possible was a trade off that I was not aware of.

So, now I have to find out if my existing lenses can still have AG coating applied, or if new lenses have to be ordered either with AG and/or of a different refractive index. Based on this outlet's reputation, I have all the confidence that the cost to me will be what it would have been if we had gone with whatever lenses it takes not to have the reflections in the first place.

In my case therefore, it remains to be seen if it is "worth the cost". Again based on this individual's reputation, I am highly confident that it will be.
kjgarrison
 
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Postby Optician1 » Sun Nov 27, 2011 11:06 pm

I'm a certified optician and I think anti glare lenses can make a huge difference for many people.

One thing with anti reflective(AR) lenses is that quality varies a lot. Crizal Avance is my favorite AR to sell. It is very scratch resistant and easy to clean. It stays clean longer then any other AR I have tried. Crizal Alize is decent but the Avance is twice as scratch resistant. Our cost is about $60 to $70 for Crizal Avance AR, so that is why it's so expensive to the consumer. I think most places charge at least $100 extra for it.

Cheap AR is a pain to clean and scratches easily. I think if you are going to get AR it's better to pay more if you can and get the best offered. Ask about warranty. Crizal warrants their coatings for two years but not all places honor that. Some places like Lens Crafters charge half prices for warranty items which seems really high to me.

AR makes more difference with high index lenses then with standard plastic. The higher the index of the lens the more reflections the lens has. Especially with 1.67 index and above I hate to sell without AR. Even poly has more reflections then standard plastic.
Optician1
 

Postby apple916 » Fri Dec 30, 2011 9:11 pm

optician1 wrote:One thing with anti reflective(AR) lenses is that quality varies a lot. Crizal Avance is my favorite AR to sell. It is very scratch resistant and easy to clean. It stays clean longer then any other AR I have tried. Crizal Alize is decent but the Avance is twice as scratch resistant. Our cost is about $60 to $70 for Crizal Avance AR, so that is why it's so expensive to the consumer. I think most places charge at least $100 extra for it.

Quality doesn't come cheap and after so many scratches and glares I'm willing to spend the extra on Crizal. Can you tell though if the Sapphire Sapphire which is their best line up is worth it over the Alize or Advance. Btw how much is Sapphire? thanks
apple916
 

Postby george » Sat Dec 31, 2011 12:36 am

It seems the difference between Avance and Sapphire is what Essilor is claiming as maximizing light transmission through the lens to further reduce glare and reflections. They claim it has 50% less reflection than Crizal Avance which they claim was the previous market leader regarding the amount of glare reflected in normal lighting conditions. Everything else looks to be pretty much the same as Avance. It has the same ratings on the COLTS Real Life Simulation with an excellent score of 4.75.

As for the prices, just looking at Eyeglass Lens Direct's website at this time, the prices for antireflective coatings added to their basic CR-39 lens are:

Surpass ECP AR $50
Super HiVision EX3 $80
Crizal OptiFog $90
Crizal Alize+ $65
Crizal Avance $75
Crizal Sapphire $90

I am guessing these prices are lower than what you will find elsewhere.
george
 
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Postby apple916 » Sun Jan 01, 2012 2:36 pm

Thanks George. I went to Walmart yesterday and they have this new thing called Digimax HD and the lens is by Crizal Alize that's what the manager told me, so I got it + transitions for 131.00. The lab was closed so she couldn't call them and ask about Sapphire and I had to complete my transactions for end of year so that was good enough to get a Crizal line.
apple916
 

Postby george » Sun Jan 01, 2012 10:13 pm

Apple916,

Thank you very much for posting the information. If Walmart Vision Center is indeed offering Crizal Alize, that is a fantastic option. While it isn't considered the "top" Crizal antireflective coating, it is an excellent one. As mentioned in another thread where I talked about the COLTS ratings of various anti-reflective lenses, The Crizal Alize scored 4.59 out of 5. According to COLTS, anything above a 3.25 means the potential for a customer to return the lens is very low.

I think the Digimax lens is a progressive lens, but I can't find any information too easily on the web.

It seems like you got an excellent lens at a very good price. I'll be curious to hear about your personal opinions about the lens. I assume the price you paid was just for the lenses and not for the frames as well.
george
 
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Postby apple916 » Mon Jan 02, 2012 8:59 pm

george wrote:Apple916,
I think the Digimax lens is a progressive lens, but I can't find any information too easily on the web.

It seems like you got an excellent lens at a very good price. I'll be curious to hear about your personal opinions about the lens. I assume the price you paid was just for the lenses and not for the frames as well.

Not progressive, it was just a single vision. There is 2 types of Digimax: the one I got was Digimax HD which has the Crizal Elize. One of the workers just got her new pair that day and was telling me it was really nice, and that it was like looking through HD lens. So yes Walmart is the place, they seem to have everything covered now from groceries to high quality lenses. :mrgreen:
apple916
 

Postby rdthorne » Sat Jan 21, 2012 12:23 pm

What is the difference between "anti-reflective" and "anti-glare".. ?? My insurance covers anti-reflective 100% but my daughter paid $69 for the anti-glare too? I thought they were the same -
rdthorne
 

Postby george » Sat Jan 21, 2012 11:40 pm

rdthorne,

I thought they are the same too. I know my insurance doesn't cover anti-reflective coatings. Are you sure the insurance covers it? If so, I'd ask them why they didn't cover the "anti-glare" coating.
george
 
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Postby mouse » Fri Jan 27, 2012 8:57 pm

AR makes for superior vision. That's the bottom line.

Some AR is sprayed on, or brushed on. That's most likely what you're getting from the online sellers, considering the price and the third world manufacturing facilities they use for surfacing their lenses and producing their glasses. The quality in that case would be poor. When you get a scratch, it will cut through the coating and peel, and it will degrade on the edges of the lens.

The high end ARs are layered on in processes involving vacuum chambers, and sometimes ionic bonding. The best (which is available in more than the Crizal branding, regardless of what the ads might make you think) will have an anti-static layer as well as hydrophobic and superoleophobic properties. The scratch resistance can be near that of glass with the absolute top products.

The huge prices charged for ARC are ridiculous. Find out if you're being charged for a name, or conversely, if you're getting a good deal because it's an inferior process.
mouse
 

Postby Joe » Wed Feb 22, 2012 6:19 pm

I have never had anti-reflective coating on my glasses, and I have had them 20 years. I have 20/400 vision without glasses and/or contacts. (I just had an eye exam last week). I have no experience with them, but I have never once encountered a problem without them. I have no need for them, especially as an extra expense. If I can see fine without them, why do I need them?

My wife recently got glasses for the first time in her life. She chose not to get the glare protection, and now is saying lots of things are cloudy. Her doctor's office said "It's because you didn't get the anti-glare protection". Does anyone else think this is just wrong? Again, I have never had any issue with cloudiness in 20+ years of glasses without this protection and suddenly that's the reason?

Anyone else experience anything like this?
Joe
 

Postby george » Thu Feb 23, 2012 12:00 am

Joe,

My first pair of glasses did not have an anti-reflective coating and they seemed fine to me. I then got a pair with anti-reflective coating and I did notice the glasses seemed a bit clearer, but it didn't seem like that big of a deal. However, when I tried going back to lenses without the anti-reflective coating, I had significant problems with cloudiness just below my line of vision.

I was shocked at the difference. I thought there was something wrong with the glasses as I had this annoying cloudiness right below my line of vision. It was only when I put on my first pair of glasses that I noticed they had the same problem. It didn't bother me when I wore them initially, but after wearing glasses with an anti-reflective coating for a few years, I can no longer go back.

I detailed this experience in my thread about Zenni Optical photochromic lenses.

Since this was your wife's first pair of glasses, it does seem a bit surprising to me that she thinks images look cloudy. The only way to tell if an anti-reflective coating would make a difference is to order a pair that has it. Most retail stores charge a lot of money for the anti-reflective coating. Costco is very reasonable for good quality lenses and anti-reflective coatings, if you want to go to a brick and mortar store. If you are willing to order online, I'd suggest Zenni Optical as you can get a decent pair of prescription glasses with anti-reflective coating for under $20 shipped to you.
george
 
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Postby Grundik » Sun Mar 18, 2012 12:47 am

Dewy Seewell wrote:I worked in an optical company wholesale house for 4 years. That is the "factory" that makes glasses for optomitrists to sell. Some single vision lenses, that is a simple prescription that is not a bi or triocal cost as little as $8 dollars or manufacture. More comples fasion eyewear and complex prescriptions cost between $25 and $50 to produce. Most glasses today take around an hour to produce as opposed to 8 hours 30 years ago. Most lens coatings are like the products sold by car dealers, which means that they are profit generators for the business. I got this info from the owner of a large chain of optical retail outlets in the northeast. Glasses generate a profit of from 100% to 2000% for a business. Glasses that will help you see well should cost under $100. Anything else is just SHEER PROFIT for the retailer. Do some resarch get the facts and let the buyer BEWARE.

Dewy Seewell :geek:


And retailers are not supposed to make a profit? They are there just for your amusement, right? You don't seem to know half the story. Some lenses cost well over 100 dollars, wholesale. Then someone needs to pay your "dumas" to edge them and assemble. And how about the edgers, have any idea how much they cost? And what about fitting and dispensing? And yes, I own an optical store.
Grundik
 

Postby Lou R » Fri Mar 23, 2012 10:46 pm

I just returned my anti-reflective glasses and got regular lightweight lenses. I found them impossible to keep clean; no matter what I tried, the lenses were smudgy and when I went back to exchange them and told the optician what I used to attempt cleaning, she shot down each one. Don't use dish soap, don't use Windex, don't use lens wipes, don't use the edge of my t-shirt...While I do notice a huge difference in glare and nonglare, I am not sold on the nonglare. I do have a 90 day guarantee, so we shall see. But for now, count this as a "no".
Lou R
 

Postby george » Fri Mar 23, 2012 11:10 pm

Lou R,

I think a lot depends on the particular anti-reflective coating that you had on your glasses. Where did you get your glasses, and do you know if it was a particular brand anti-reflective coating? I have heard (and experienced) that dirt shows up more on anti-reflective lenses because the rest of the lens is so clear. Many of the more expensive anti-reflective coatings have special properties to help make them easier to clean. The anti-reflective coating from Costco seemed a little easier to keep clean than the anti-reflective coating from Zenni Optical. I did recently notice that Zenni Optical is now offering an oleophobic anti-reflective coating for an extra $15 (as opposed to the coating I had gotten which was only $4.95). Oleophobic anti-reflective coatings should be better at repelling dust, oils, and water, which should make it easier to clean fingerprints and smudges.

There is a thread here on the recommended ways to clean your glasses. I've had pretty good success with just rinsing with cool water followed by wiping it dry with a microfiber cloth.
george
 
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Postby Henry » Sun Apr 01, 2012 8:54 pm

I greatly appreciate your follow through about anti glare, anti reflective lenses. Havig macular degeneration I have problems among other thigs, with needing as much light as possible , glare and foggy vision. Seeing a poster at Lenscrafters I asked to see a sample. They gave me a coated lens which just holding to my eye eliminated glare when looking at lightbulbs. Outdoors it helped increase contrast which helps with my condition, but it also noticeably decreased much neede light transmission. In all your research did you find any details on "loss of light transmission"?
Cordially,
Henry
Henry
 

Postby george » Wed Apr 04, 2012 11:10 pm

Henry,

I tried looking around for information on light transmission with different lenses and it seems that certain tints on sunglasses block out more or less of the light, often in specific areas of the color spectrum. Because it is a bit off topic from this thread, I've started a new thread about eyeglasses for macular degeneration.
george
 
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Postby berman » Thu Jun 21, 2012 8:28 am

Hello everyone, thanks a lot in special for George that come up with so much good information,

i changed monitor to a Nec pa27w and even lowaring the brighness as possible sometimes my eyes burn, strain or i end up with headache's, so i decided to do a little search and i ended up here, since some one alerted to use antiglare glasses to protect against the monitor.

i ended up without knowing which could be the best option, i dont use glasses i just wanted them to protect me against the monitor.
berman
 
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Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2012 8:15 am

Postby Ivy » Wed Aug 01, 2012 8:49 pm

Hello everyone! I also thank you George for coming up with this informative thread. For those of us who are not using glasses but need some anti-glare protection, this sort of information is very useful.

Berman, I also came up to this thread while searching for anti-glare glasses for the same purpose as you do, due to recurring eye strain. I am working with a minimum of 2 large monitors (often 4) as part of my work so this is becoming an issue as I keep having red eyes at the end of the day and sometimes with headaches. Have you found any good ones you can recommend?
Ivy
 

Postby Modnik » Sun Nov 11, 2012 5:22 pm

George
First I would say that the anti reflective coating has been very beneficial for me reducing headlight glare and bounced light glare off my computer monitor. My opthamologist highly recommended that I get the AR coating given the amount of time I am in front of a computer screen. I had noticed an immediate reduction in eye strain by the end of the work days as compared to my older glasses.
I ordered these glasses from Zenni Optical a year ago with 1.67 Index lenses. Accidentally I dropped them last month and chipped the bottom of the lense. I reordered the exact pair (titanium rimless frames for $116 delivered in 2 weeks) but instead of getting the standard $4.95 AR, I opted for the $14.95 Oleophobic premium coating. Well the newer coating is even better, clearer, less reflection and everything seems even brighter (more light). I am comparing the exact same prescriptive lenses with only the coating difference. This is the fourth pair of glasses that I have purchased through Zenni and each time it just gets better. I also am able to submit 90% of the cost to VSP for reimbursement even though it is an online vendor manufacturing in Hong Kong. (So far VSP will not reimburse employees for A/R coatings but I'm going to work on them to see if we can in the future since I think it is an excellent coating that improves vision and reduces eye strain.) By the way, if you have travelled to Hong Kong, the eyeglass business is actually very big business. Everyone wears eyeglasses there. Zenni is one of the largest eyeglass manufacturers there and word has it that they have the most modern equipment using the latest technologies. The equipment is not cheap to electronically coat or bake these coatings on the lenses. Only through high volume business can the online companies offer such low prices and are highly dependent for repeat business. Some blog writers may want to disparage the online eyeglass providers like Zenni & 39DollarGlasses as inferior providers of product but I haven't met a peer yet who wasn't happy with what they bought from them based on quality. As a consumer, I don't care whether it is Crizal or Varilux, I am very happy with the high quality lense I get online at a reasonable price. BTW in the Spring 2012, Zenni offered all of its AR coatings at half price regardless of what frame you chose. Thanks for putting all this good info in a blog.
Modnik
 

Postby george » Fri Nov 30, 2012 5:59 pm

I just posted a review of my new pair of glasses with Crizal Avance anti-reflective treatment. Basically - the treatment cost $154 and I can't tell much (if any) difference from the basic $4.95 coating from Zenni Optical or the lenses from Costco which include anti-reflective treatment (around $75 including the polycarbonate lenses).

As an overall update to the thread, I now depend on the anti-reflective coatings on my eyeglasses but the $4.95 Zenni optical coating seems just as good as any of these premium coatings. From what I've heard from others, they can't really tell the difference between Zenni's $4.95 coating and their oleophobic and hydrophobic options that cost a little more. For that matter, I can't tell the difference between what is supposed to be the best anti-reflective treatment on the market (Crizal Avance) and the $4.95 coating from Zenni.
george
 
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Postby helena » Mon Apr 01, 2013 10:12 am

Joe wrote:I have never had anti-reflective coating on my glasses, and I have had them 20 years. I have 20/400 vision without glasses and/or contacts. (I just had an eye exam last week). I have no experience with them, but I have never once encountered a problem without them. I have no need for them, especially as an extra expense. If I can see fine without them, why do I need them?

My wife recently got glasses for the first time in her life. She chose not to get the glare protection, and now is saying lots of things are cloudy. Her doctor's office said "It's because you didn't get the anti-glare protection". Does anyone else think this is just wrong? Again, I have never had any issue with cloudiness in 20+ years of glasses without this protection and suddenly that's the reason?

Anyone else experience anything like this?


I have worn glasses for 39 years, 38 of those years without glare protection. Last July my new glasses included anti-reflective coating. I have noticed a big difference. First, I have noted cloudiness WITH the anti-reflective coating. When driving I switch to my prescription sun glasses (even on cloudy days) as I can see more clearly. Second, They smudge very easily and need to be cleaned multiple times in a day. Third, they scratch much more easily than any of my other glasses. Whatever benefit received with anti-glare is far out-weighed by better day vision! My next pair will not have anti-reflective coating.
helena
 

Postby jchunter » Mon Jun 24, 2013 8:11 pm

I bought a second pair of Zenni glasses with the $14.94 oleophobic lens coating. Compared to my first pair, with straight AR coating, there was absolutely NO reduction in finger print tendency. Save your money. BTW, both pairs were of excellent quality otherwise.
jchunter
 

Postby Vinay » Fri Jun 28, 2013 12:57 am

A point source becomes blurred (especially those car head lights). Will the anti-glare lens prevent it or I have to get new glasses :/
Vinay
 

Postby george » Fri Jun 28, 2013 9:49 pm

Vinay,

I think it depends on what is causing the "blurred" effect you are talking about. Anti-reflective coatings can help with some of the halo like effects you get around lights, if the halo is caused by reflections within the glasses themselves. I have not heard of anti-reflective coatings helping with halos caused by lasik or other eye issues.

I've not heard of people adding an anti-reflective coating to old glasses. If it could be done, I'd guess there is a high chance the result won't be that great. It sounds like you'll need new glasses. Fortunately, you can get very good glasses with anti-reflective coatings for a decent price through Costco. Most people are also satisfied with very inexpensive glasses from Zenni, which have decent anti-reflective coatings, especially when you consider the cost.
george
 
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Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2008 8:23 pm

Postby duster22 » Thu Dec 12, 2013 10:58 pm

All quality optical instruments(cameras, binoculars, telescopes, microscopes) have anti-reflection coatings. Without the coating, you must see through the "veil" of reflections created by the front and rear surfaces of your eyeglass lenses as you view the world. Your vision is always better when there is an anti-reflection coating on your lenses. Period :)
duster22
 

Postby Eric » Fri Dec 13, 2013 7:44 pm

I have always been disappointed with how easily the AR coatings scratch. Even when I was very careful and followed the cleaning instructions, my glasses had many fine scratches after 6 months or so of use. I tried both plastic and polycarbonate lenses, looking for more scratch resistance, before realizing it was the AR coating that was being scratched rather than the lens itself. My last 2 or 3 pairs had a scratch resistant scotch guard coating (fills up micro pores in the lens), but no AR coating. My experiments convinced me that the AR coating is very delicate and does not hold up over time. AR does work well, but at the cost of scratches in your lenses.
Eric
 

Postby Mango » Sun Dec 22, 2013 10:38 pm

Eric's explanation sounds very plausible. It's curious that anti-scratch coating doesn't really prevent these scratches.

Some time ago I stopped using cloths to clean my glasses. Now I just use dish soap and water instead. My glasses are almost a year old and look pristine. I wish I had started doing this years ago.
Mango
 
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Postby howeeye » Fri Jan 10, 2014 2:13 pm

anti ref coated lenses come in mant diff qualities. they are difficult to clean and not very user friendly. they do cut glare and reflections so if you need that feature get it. they range in price frim 25-180 bucks. (addded to the basic lens price) you get what you pay for !! the $$$$ ones are harder to scratch and easier to clean. ive been an optician for 35 years this is the truth.
howeeye
 

Postby Michael » Wed Feb 26, 2014 10:08 am

Do all of the comments about halo effects and point-source lighting, such as headlights, take into consideration the fact that cataracts cause both?

Most people age 50 and older have cataracts developing, although nowhere near the point requiring surgery. The deterioration of visual acuity, the increase in annoying glare and halo effects around bright lights may take place over the next 20 or 30 years before surgery is justified. An examination by an ophthalmologist (a medical exam, covered by Medicare and other forms of insurance) may be more helpful than trying to buy a solution from a retailer.
Michael
 

Postby dodgegrady » Tue Apr 08, 2014 10:54 am

George,

Very helpful thread as I am poised to purchase a new pair of frames and lenses. I am now armed with a modicum of information to take on this task. In all likelihood, will purchase from LensCrafters. I understand they are more expensive, but for the one hour turn around on the lenses I believe it is worth it and, for the first time in a long time, I actually have the money to buy from LensCrafters.
Way back in 1989 I purchased my first pair of glasses from LensCrafters and over the years I have never had the satisfaction with other eyeglass sources that I achieved with LensCrafters. Also, I should note, the frames I got from LensCrafters lasted me through four prescription changes and they fit me better than any other glasses I have owned. I have always had an AR coating and the one on that first pair of glasses held up the best out of all of my lenses.
Just got off the phone with LensCrafters and they said it takes about a week to get HD lenses or Crizal or etc... I was not aware of this, as evidenced by my earlier statement. So now I am at a crossroads of sorts. Thankfully you and the other posters on this thread have provided me with information so I may attempt to shop less expensively. Thank you for that.
dodgegrady
 

Postby handiman212 » Wed Apr 30, 2014 10:18 pm

I have had problems with the coating breaking down on three pair of glasses from Visionworks in the last 18 months. I bought two pair to start and they had to be replaced before the first year. A new pair has only given me about 5 months service. I've only cleaned them with the cleaners sold by Visionworks.
handiman212
 

Postby Emma teagirl » Fri Jun 20, 2014 11:55 am

I'm someone who has to have an anti-glare coating. I have always had glasses with it, which I get from the discount glasses store that I've been using since I first got glasses.

One day, I decided to get an extra pair of glasses to have as a spare and to wear sometimes, so I chose a more fashionable pair than my daily ones. I decided not to get anti-glare to keep the price rock bottom (even though it only cost like ten or fifteen dollars for the coating). It had always been my misunderstanding that the anti-glare was only so your glasses wouldn't have a big reflection/glare when other people looked at you and when having your photo taken, I didn't know it affected your vision. BIG MISTAKE! I found the glasses unbearable because of all the glare. It was like I needed sunglasses between my lenses and my eyes or something. In the end, those glasses were put in a drawer somewhere and will only be used if my current glasses break or get lost, and even then they will be used as little as possible.

Interestingly, my mom has never had anti-glare coating, and she doesn't really notice much glare. I wonder if I'm only so bothered because I have always had anti-glare.

Also, I've never had any difficulty keeping my anti-glare lenses clean or scratch free. I am not rough on my glasses, but I do wash them by running them under water and toweling them off and I don't really do anything special to take care of them. I've never had the coating wear off. I do see some green reflection, but only when I take my glasses of and tilt them in the light. I don't see it at all while I'm wearing them.
Emma teagirl
 

Postby me_too » Sat Aug 02, 2014 10:08 pm

I too am looking at adding AR (anti-reflective) coating for my 5 year old's new glasses.

I've heard from several stores that there is standard AR & Teflon AR. Most comments have been that the standard AR scratches and flakes easily and that the Teflon, while slightly more expensive, is significantly better at not flaking and scratching.

One optician also stated that that she bought Teflon-AR for her son who was around 10-13. And, she said that his glasses looked dirty all the time. Even if they were only slightly dirty, they still looked bad and he had to clean them often. She said they did not get AR again because he didn't "need" it, it was just a nice thing to have.

For my 5 year old, I'm opting out because she does not use the computer much (nor does she drive at night) so she would get very little benefit. (Even though the rep at America's Best thought I might be interested in AR. Sounded a bit "Used Car Salesman" to me.)

Additionally, Costco told me that they include AR with their polycarb, a spherical, Transitions Version 7 lenses for $80 - but not sure if it's standard or Teflon. And America's Best does sells polycarb, a spherical, Transitions 7, no AR for $80 - but be sure to check their fine print on deals because many people have been mislead regarding their 2 pair for $69 (super basic frames & lenses only, more $$ for additional options). They have a reasonable deal, but their gimmicks make me very uncomfortable.

I also found good deals at GlassesSpot.com .

Hope this info helps and happy eye glass hunting. :)

--me
me_too
 

Postby george » Sun Aug 03, 2014 12:03 am

I know there are a few anti-reflective coatings out there that use Teflon, the most commonly referred to being the Zeiss Clear Coat. Interestingly, I was not able to find any mention of this coating on Zeiss' current website. It is mentioned on several eye clinic sites, but not by Zeiss. And the current anti-reflective coating offered by Zeiss is the PureCoat Plus. On the Zeiss website, there is no mention of Teflon in that coating.

I have a feeling that Zeiss was in a licensing agreement with the makers of Teflon (Dupont), but they no longer are. This is purely a guess, and if I find out anything different, I'll update this thread.

So - back to your question of Teflon vs standard AR. I'm not sure if there is a specific eye doctor office where you were offered these choices? There is a lot of variability in what someone might refer to as a standard anti-reflective coating. I think overall, the differences between different anti-reflective coatings is not as big a deal as advertisements would like us to believe.

One reason why anti-reflective lenses appear more dirty is that the lenses are so clear that any smudges or dust stand out much more readily when compared with non-anti-reflective lenses.

If this is your 5 year olds first pair of glasses, it's hard to know how much he would appreciate anti-reflective coatings. For me, I had glasses without any coatings and never had an issue with them. When I first got glasses after that which had an anti-reflective coating, I could tell the lenses seemed much cleaner, but it didn't seem like any earth shattering improvement. After getting used to the anti-reflective coating, I went back to a pair of glasses without an anti-reflective coating. I immediately noticed annoying reflections. So for me, from now on, I'll be getting the anti-reflective coating. Depending on the cost, I'm not sure it'd be worth it for a first pair of glasses to a toddler. However, if the price is low, I think you are unlikely to see any harm from an anti-reflective coating,

it is interesting you mentioned glassesspot in your post, with no real reference to what prices were so good, and what your experience was like. While I hate having discussions get derailed, I can't help it. When I looked up glassesspot I see they have a horrible F rating from the Better Business Bureau (it appears Avy Fashion is another name for the same company). They seem like a company best to avoid.
george
 
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Postby OpticalCoater » Mon Aug 04, 2014 6:43 pm

I realize this post is older and my two cents may not be helpful to the original poster. I hope this is of some help to someone.

I coat glass for a living. Not eyeglasses, but high end optical components for medical, space and military optics. The idea behind coating eyeglasses is the same, though.

Any glass surface is going to reflect about 4.5% of the light. You can see this on windows and glasses and the screen to your phone. For high index glass, this goes up to 8% to 10% of the light reflecting off of each surface. An antireflective coating can cut this down to between 0.5% and 1% being reflected off of each surface. This increases the amount of light that passes through the lens from 80% or 90% without coatings up to 98% with coatings.

Coating on eyeglasses is hard because eyeglasses are treated to all kinds of abuse that most lenses will never see. Plastic lenses are even harder to coat on because lots of stuff does not like to adhere, or stick, to plastic. The eyeglass coaters actually will coat a relatively thick layer of quartz onto the plastic and then coat the antireflective coating on that. This improves the scratch resistance of the soft plastic lens as well. They typically put an Hydrophobic or Anti-Smudge coating on top of that, which reduces the impact of fingerprints and makes the surface easier to clean. (Look up Optical Thin Film Coatings if you are interested to learn more.)

There are many, many different companies out there that coat eyeglass lenses, and many of them use different technologies to deposit the thin films that make the coatings. Some coatings are better than others. Some will have better antireflective performance, some will be more durable, some will be more expensive. I don't know enough about the eyeglass industry to know who has the best coatings.

I personally prefer to wear contacts and not worry about any coatings. When I do wear glasses my biggest complaint is glare when driving at night. I really appreciate the AR coatings then. Can you live without coatings? Sure. I, personally really notice and appreciate the reduced glare.
OpticalCoater
 

Postby Gary » Mon Sep 15, 2014 1:51 pm

I've been wearing glasses for the past 31 years. I have noticed in the past few years that I can't seem to keep a pair for more than a year or two without becoming annoyingly distracted by all the scratches and/or breakdown of the coatings. I'm wondering what has changed. I bought an expensive pair of glasses in 1994 that I never had this kind of problem with. I had those glasses for 14 years until I lost them, and don't remember ever having a problem with them scratching or becoming cloudy. Unfortunately I don't remember exactly what technology or material the lenses were made of. But my best guess is they were some sort of non-glass material. Did they have coatings? I don't remember asking for that or having it suggested. Were coatings common in 1994? I can't remember.

But in the last 5 years or so I've had three pairs of glasses from Zenni, and my current pair (which are 9 months old now) from Costco. Although the A/R coatings have been great for reducing glare, I've had a terrible time with lenses becoming scratched and cloudy, despite also having the anti-scratch coating. I switched from Zenni to Costco in hopes of getting a pair that will really last this time. Unfortunately that hasn't been the case. They're just as bad as the Zenni ones were even though they cost about 4 times as much.

I love the anti-reflective properties of A/R coatings, but I've had it with the extremely short lifespan of these lenses. With my current pair I was particularly careful about cleaning them, using only lens cleaning wipes recommended by Costco. It didn't make any difference. At this point I'm looking at going back to glass lenses without any coatings. I wore those years ago and don't remember it being a huge problem. If it is, I guess I'll just learn to live with it.
Gary
 




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