Do High Index Lenses Make Eyes Look Smaller?
Do you wear prescription glasses either for reading or for everyday use and suffer from the problem of your eyes appearing either bigger or smaller than they are in reality? This can be very unattractive and knock your confidence somewhat if you do. Due to the design and engineering technology behind them, many ask the question set in the title of this post regarding high index lenses. High index lenses are so-called because they have higher refraction indexes than standard pairs of glasses, meaning they can be made thinner and more lightweight.
We think this is probably where the misconception around them is why people are asking whether high index lenses make their eyes look smaller. The short answer is no, they won’t. However, to clarify this more with a bit more evidence and proof, let’s look at the subject in a lot more detail.
Before we go any further, let’s break down the main differences between high index lenses and standard lenses and then also discuss why the appearance of the eyes is changed by certain lenses.
What are High Index Lenses?
All prescription lenses used in eyewear correct refractive errors in the eyes by refracting/bending light when it passes straight through the lenses. The lens power, that is how much light bending the lens is capable of is determined by your prescription and differs from person to person. The lens power and refractive errors are both measured in diopters.
If, for instance, therefore, you suffer from nearsightedness, the prescription from your optician or eye doctor may have -2.00D written on it. That is if you are only slightly myopic. However, if you have a more serious problem, it may have something like -8.00 D written on it.
When you suffer from farsightedness, the number will be preceded by a +. Lenses suitable for correcting this problem tend to be thinner around the edges and thicker at its center. Compared to lenses for nearsightedness which tend to be the opposite.
Traditional lenses, whether made from plastic or glass, for extreme long-sightedness or nearsightedness are usually very heavy and thick. That is why if you have a more serious eyesight problem than a friend, their glasses (particularly in the past) may appear much lighter and less bulky than yours.
High index lenses are a modern invention that solves this problem because they can correct similar levels of refractive error while retaining a slimline and compact design.
Does that Mean Your Eyes Will Look Smaller Wearing High Index Lenses?
Coming back to the question highlighted in the title. To expound on the simple answer of no we stated at the outset, the way your eyes appear when wearing glasses has nothing to do with the type of lens you use. It is directly related to the strength of your prescription.
Again, let’s look at nearsightedness or myopia, to start with. Lenses designed to correct myopia are concave lenses and have thicker edges and thinner centers. This can give the impression that you have smaller eyes than you do because the lenses pull the image back so they can be seen clearly.
While lenses designed to combat hyperopia or farsightedness act like magnifiers because they have a thicker center and thinner edges and make your eyes look much bigger than they are.
Therefore, it doesn’t matter if you have high index lenses, if you have a particularly strong prescription because you suffer from serious myopia or hyperopia, you will still have the problem of your eyes appearing bigger or smaller than normal.
Two ways you could get around this problem would be either lens with a slight tint or a mirror coating, as that will distract and hide the altered size of your eyes.
What is the Point of High Index Lenses?
You may wonder then, why you would want to invest in high index lenses if they can’t solve problems created by your strong prescription. There are several great benefits of choosing lenses with a higher index, which while they won’t solve the issue of how your eyes look, may still help make wearing glasses a more enjoyable and comfortable experience.
Thinner Profile – It’s already been mentioned but it’s worth repeating that high index lenses are much thinner in design and construction. This makes them more attractive and will not give your face that bulky or cumbersome feel that glasses with standard lenses do.
Lighter – This goes hand in hand with the above. As high index lenses are much thinner than traditional lenses, they are by default, much lighter in weight, which means you are less likely to suffer from discomfort or fatigue from wearing them for long periods.
Lower Levels of Distortion – Although they won’t directly make your eyes appear smaller or bigger, high index lenses can help with how they look as they do not have the same level of eye distortion as thicker and clunkier lenses.
Better Resistance to Scratches – Another benefit that comes from high index lenses being naturally lighter and thinner than traditional polycarbonate or plastic lenses is that they are much denser, meaning they offer better resistance against scratches. If your eyesight issues, therefore, require you to wear glasses for large parts of the day, every day, then high index lenses may be a wise investment due to their increased durability and robustness.
As we have hopefully shown, high index lenses will not really affect how big or small your eyes look compared to glasses fitted with standard lenses. However, there are some very worthwhile benefits from investing in the switch from standard to a high index that we think is too good to quickly dismiss without giving some serious thought to them.
The slimmer profile and lighter feel of high index lenses will certainly more pleasant to wear than the thick and clunky lenses you may have been used to. It obviously comes down to personal taste and preference, whether you opt for high index lenses or not, though.