Should I have anti-reflection coatings on my glasses?

By Steve

I grew up in and around Opticians and glasses. As such I’ve heard a lot of feedback from clients about the good, bad and ugly of anti-reflection coatings. These coatings have changed a lot over the last 25 years. In this blog I’m going to tell you everything I know about the pros and cons to help you decide what is best for you.

What is an anti-reflection coating?

Very simply it is a layer that is put on your lenses to reduce reflections. For those that are interested, it uses the science of waves and destructive interference to reduce these reflections. This is done by the lens manufacturers when we have instructed them to make the lenses for you. It is worth noting that these coatings cannot be added once your glasses are made. 

What are the pros

Less glare

As the name suggests, anti-reflection coatings reduce reflections. This means that there are less pesky reflections in your lenses to try and look through and this means you are likely to have a nicer experience in your glasses.

Better looking glasses

Again, the name suggests less reflections and again they deliver. This time the reduction in reflections is for those that are looking at your glasses as you are wearing them. This makes the lenses look aesthetically better and clearer for those looking to make eye contact with you. 

Clearer vision

The added coatings actually allow more light to reach the eye through your glasses lens, meaning you have brighter and clearer vision.

Cleaning *(also see cons)

The most modern coatings include elements that repel water and oil and it’s easy to use a proper microfibre glasses cloth to make your lenses sparkly and new again.

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What are the cons?

Cleaning *(also see pros)

Coatings that are from a previous generation are often used as a more budget friendly way of having them on your glasses. The older technology sometimes misses out on the oil repellent aspect and the lenses can be quite smeary between cleans. A proper glasses cleaning spray will make this much easier to remove. 

Failing/Peeling

The coatings on glasses have become more and more hardy over the years but they still aren’t indestructible. The biggest problems occur when they are older or when they are subjected to extreme temperature change. In my experience lenses over 4 years old are at risk of their coatings peeling. As for temperature change, most often we see problems when glasses have been left in hot cars. A quick google search tells me that if it’s 24 degrees outside, your car could be 50 degrees on the inside when left in the sun! This creates crazing across the coatings, making them blurry and smeary, the exact opposite of why you had them in the first place.

Cost

Just like anything else, the add ons will cost more! Depending on the coating type they can cost anywhere between £20-£80 in addition to the initial lens price.

Summary

Optically, anti-reflection coatings do great things for glasses lenses. If budget allows I would recommend them on every pair. However, if you don’t have particularly demanding visual needs and they don’t get used much then the added cost may not be worth it to you.

At Bainbridge’s, because we believe it creates a significantly better product for you, we include premium anti-reflection coatings on all our lenses unless expressly requested otherwise.

If you’re interested in any information on the different coatings available on glasses then don’t hesitate to contact the team!

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