NOV 07

Overcoming the Limits of Myopia with High Index Lenses

Life is harder when you can’t see what’s ahead of you. No, we’re not speaking figuratively. Myopia is a major challenge to a normal lifestyle, one that is endured by a large portion of modern society. Most people who wear glasses are near sighted and must handle their vision correction methods every day. This is especially challenging if your prescription is quite strong.  Keeping track of your glasses is a must no matter what you’re doing and it becomes absolutely necessary to keep a small cleaning and repair kit handy at all times so as not be caught in an emergency with smudgy, or worse, broken glasses. However, with all these things considered, one of the major challenges of the notably myopic is one of fashion. This may sound silly at first, but it is quite a serious issue when you consider it.

The Impact of Frames

People dealing with significant myopia wear their glasses all the time. Unlike casual reading glasses you can pick up at the drug store, these glasses shape the appearance of the wearer every waking moment and cannot be easily replaced if they “don’t work out”. For this reason, choosing the frames for your corrective lenses is incredibly important. They will show your style and shape your face, determining your appearance and others ability to recognize you.

Even the people closest to you will have a more difficult time recognizing you without your glasses because the only time you take them off is to sleep, bathe, and occasionally swim. Everyone has a unique style of frames they prefer, which comes together as a combination of material, color, size, shape, and how they hold the lenses.

Your glasses frames function in many ways like a favorite accessory you cannot do without and they sit right in the center of your face. Depending on your choice, they can make your face look wider or thinner, younger or more mature. They can be high fashion or understated, but whatever you choose, you’re stuck with it unless you want to get a backup pair. These will become part of ‘your look’ because you won’t be able to look at anything clearly without them.

You even have to decide in the frames shop how formal you need your glasses to be. While those bright funky frames might look trendy now, what if you have to attend a black-tie event in the near future and do you really want to be the only person in the venue wearing lime green plastic?

How the Lenses Fit In

As important as your frames choice is in this equation, it is also limited by your prescription. Though your ophthalmologist won’t actively stop you from choosing slim to rimless frames, your optician may well advise against it if your prescription is high enough. The reason for this is, of course, lens thickness. The more intense your prescription, the thicker your lenses are and the fewer options are truly available to you. Some frames cannot hold up large, thick lenses while others are structurally capable of supporting them but look unfortunately ridiculous with huge flaring lens edges coming out around the slender lines of the frames.

It is, perhaps, for this reason that the ‘nerdy’ stereotype features thick plastic frames around eye-distortingly thick lenses. Delicate, sleek, and slender looks have eluded people with stronger prescriptions for centuries, but all that is changing now. With modern lens crafting technology, it has become possible to create both glass and plastic lenses at a higher index, creating much thinner lenses by allowing light to bend through them much more efficiently.

High Index Lenses

What exactly is this game changer? The majority of high index lenses are made from sturdy, advanced plastic materials that are at one time both denser and perceptibly thinner. The development has taken several decades to complete, starting with a normal index of 1.50 and growing with each new polymer innovation to a material that achieves an index of up to 1.74, the thinnest lenses on the market.

Lenses are called ‘high index’ due to their index of refraction, which is how efficiently they bend light. Almost all clear or transparent items have some kind of index of refraction and you have certainly seen signs of it in the real world. The water in a swimming pool, for instance, can often be observed distorting the appearance and size of things that are much smaller. A water glass with a straw in it is another great example. When the straw appears to bend but isn’t bent when you pull it out, what you are seeing is light waves coming away from the glass, altered by its index of refraction.

When a lens is high index, this means that it has a minor or major increase in the index of refraction from the norm of 1.50. Some high index lenses are only 1.59, but you can, of course, go all the way up to the top range. Glass lenses go even higher, but match this increased efficiency with weight, something buyers need to decide on carefully.

How Thin are High Index Lenses?

When it comes to deciding how to decorate your face with a necessary accessory, naturally you want to have all the options. High index lenses make thinner lenses, but it’s also important to understand how thin lenses can get and how your prescription factors in. The material and index you choose determines how thin your lenses can get, with the higher indexes resulting in incredibly thin lenses. Of course, the original thinness of your lens factors in as well. Less intense prescriptions, with naturally thinner lenses, don’t need much more than the 1.59 upgrade while those with prescriptions set at five or higher (absolute) could benefit from indexes all the way up to the max at 1.74.

Combining a mild prescription with a 1.74 lens creates a paper-thin layer of clear personalized plastic not much thicker than the plastic wrap you might use in the kitchen, only rigid. Ideally, you will want to talk to your optician before deciding on the lens index your prescription calls for. If the number on your prescription is (2) or (-2) may see the results they’re looking for at a simple and affordable 1.61 index while someone who was legally blind due to myopia and a prescription beyond 4 might consider one of the highest index lenses.

Your Appearance with High Index Lenses

We’ve discussed how thick lenses limit your access to the frames that may well frame your face best and it can be easily deduced where the next point is going. Thinner lenses means there are many more opportunities in the frames shop for you to choose from. From thin wire frames to rimless glasses that need no frames at all, suddenly those big flaring lens sides that have been with you for years are finally gone and you can choose your look 100% based on style and personal preference rather than having to choose the one model that accommodates your lens and facial needs.

Whether you choose pointed librarian glasses, sleek rimless rectangles, or something simple and understated like some slim gray frames that nearly disappear even when you wear them, the choice of lens material and your favorite index is up to you.

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