OCT 14

Should I Get High Index Lenses?

Purchasing a new pair of glasses can be exciting, yet perhaps overwhelming. While there are many different ways that you can customize your new look, the sheer amount of available options can make it difficult to make a final decision. Because of this, at Rx-Safety, we are happy to provide an extensive inventory, yet personal, warm service for all of our customers.

When choosing your next pair of glasses, you will undoubtedly pay close attention to your lenses. This is for good reason, as your lenses are one of the most important parts of your new eyewear. That said, before making your final decision, you may be thinking about purchasing high index lenses. Whether you heard about them from a friend or family member or simply saw a reference to high index lenses on our website, high index lenses can be a great choice—so long as you know what you are purchasing.

This article is designed to help you understand some of the key benefits and costs of high index lenses. After reading this article, we hope that you will have a better idea of whether high index lenses are right for you.

High Index Lenses: The Basics

To understand why high index lenses are so special, it is first helpful to discuss how eyeglass lenses work in the first place. Eyeglass lenses correct vision errors by refracting (also known as bending) light as it passes through the lens itself. It does this in order to correct a misalignment of our biological lenses in each of our eyes.

This light-bending ability of eyeglass lenses is governed by a so-called refractive index. Also called the index of refraction, it is a measure of how efficiently a material bends light. The efficiency itself depends on how fast the light travels through the lens. A high refractive index means that the lenses are bending light more efficiently.

Ultimately, high index lenses have a higher refractive index compared to other types of materials. In other words, high index lenses bend light more efficiently than their counterparts. High index plastic lenses tend to have refractive indexes ranging from 1.53 to 1.74, while their counterparts are below 1.53.

Why does this matter to you? A higher refractive index means that your lenses will be thinner. In fact, the thinness of these lenses is one of the main selling points. The lenses are noticeably thinner than simple glass lenses. If your high index lenses have an index of refraction above 1.70, you will find them to be a whopping 50 percent thinner than their counterparts.

The inherent thinness of high index lenses is especially relevant for wearers with strong prescriptions. If you have a strong prescription for nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism, you will notice that traditional glass lenses have thicker lenses. These thicker lenses give off the well-known “bug eyed” look that many glasses wearers try to avoid. But by wearing high index lenses, you can avoid the bug eyed look while still correcting your vision problems. In other words, its thin nature offers the best of both worlds here.

Along with their inherent thinness, high index lenses tend to be lighter than the alternatives. Because high index lenses require less lens material, the overall weight of these lenses is lower. Comfort is a key benefit here. With high index lenses, you can avoid repeated squinting or adjustments to your glasses due to their heaviness. Due to their efficiency, wearing high index lenses makes for a much more pleasant and comfortable experience. You will immediately notice the difference and will find it hard to go back to the standard glass lenses.

Finally, a massive benefit to high index lenses is that they are more aesthetically pleasing. In other words, they are more stylish than their counterparts. Much of this is due to the first two benefits listed here. Their light and thin nature, once again, helps avoid the dreaded bug eyed look. These lenses give off a slimmer and more attractive profile. While your lenses aren’t the only item that affects your overall look when wearing glasses, they certainly play a large role. With high index lenses, you are investing in a sleek, sophisticated look that will certainly impress your friends, family, and colleagues.

These three attributes—thinness, lightness, and style—are the three main benefits of purchasing high index lenses. As with anything, however, there are disadvantages. With high index lenses, there are three prime disadvantages.  

First, one disadvantage of high index lenses is that they are more brittle than other types of lenses. What this means is that these lenses may scratch more easily (or even shatter completely) compared to their counterparts. If you purchase an expensive frame and high index lenses, you may be disappointed when you discover tiny scratches on your lenses. But having said this, you can always purchase anti-scratch coatings. These coatings can play a part in eliminating minor scratching on your lenses.

From their brittleness, high index lenses are also more reflective than other lenses. For you, this means that you will notice more glare when you are wearing your high index lenses in the sun. If you are wearing high index lenses when driving a car or motorcycle, for instance, you may find it more difficult to see. The same is true if you are playing a sport on a bright, sunny day. But like with brittleness, you can treat the reflective nature of these lenses by purchasing an anti-glare coating.

Finally, and most strikingly, high index lenses can be more expensive than their counterparts. Generally speaking, the higher the refractive index, the more expensive the lenses will be. This pricing disadvantage is one of the main reasons why some individuals don’t purchase high index lenses. The higher costs of high index lenses are primarily due to their higher manufacturing costs. Making high index lenses is complicated. There is a lower margin for error due to the need for more precision when creating thinner lenses. These higher manufacturing costs are passed along to customers, providing a real, compelling reason to find a more affordable alternative.

Making the Best Decision For You

In this discussion of high index lenses, there is good news and bad news. Unfortunately, we cannot answer the title question for you, as the decision to purchase high index lenses is a deeply personal decision. You may think of high index lenses as a “nice to have” rather than a necessity. Some of the disadvantages listed above may outweigh all of the advantages.

The good news, however, is that we at Rx-Safety strive to provide the best possible prices for high index lenses. Whether you are purchasing high index lenses for their thinness, lightness, style, or any other reason, we are happy to work with you.

At Rx-Safety, you will find high index lenses that are sold at the most competitive rates. Once you select the best frame for you, you will be able to customize the type of lens that you want. Should you have any questions throughout this process, you can always contact us. To do so, feel free to click the “contact” tab on the top of this page. Best of luck!

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