Thinner Lenses for my Glasses
If you’ve seen the 1999 cult comedy OFFICE SPACE, you’re unlikely to forget one character in particular – the mumbling, obsessive-compulsive Milton Waddams, the quintessential office “whacko” with psychotic tendencies and a passion for his red stapler.
Glasses with Thinner Lenses
There’s one physical attribute that is invariably responsible for Milton’s unforgettable appearance: incredibly thick-lensed eyeglasses, which magnify his eyes to great comical effect.
“I literally had to wear contacts behind two-inch lenses to be able to see at all,” said actor Stephen Root, who played Milton, in an interview. “I had no depth perception. Anything I had to reach on the desk, I had to practice four times.”
Milton’s “Coke Bottle” glasses are, of course, exaggerated to the level of caricature. But anyone who wrestles with eyesight that requires a very strong prescription knows that the lenses worn by the character – complete with their physical limitations and cosmetically-unfortunate appearance – are not all that far removed from real-life “Coke bottles.”
Strong prescriptions require lenses that need deeply-cut curves in order to bend light to the necessary degree…and deep curves necessitate thick material, be it standard plastic or glass. Overtly thick lenses present an array of problems, and eye magnification is just one of them; protrusion from the frame, excessive weight, distortion, and limited frameware choices are other byproducts of very thick lenses.
So now, the important question: if your prescription necessitates thick lenses, is there anything you can do to make them thinner? The answer is yes, and they’re called high index lenses.
High index lenses are made in either plastic or glass formulations, but this is not regular, everyday plastic or glass; high index is a composite material that bends light more efficiently than standard materials. This means that curves cut into high index material can be shallower and less parabolic and still create the same light-bending effect that forms your prescription. And a flatter curve means a flatter lens surface. The blanks used to cut strong prescriptions can be considerably thinner and often lighter than standard-material blanks.
High index lenses come in a variety of index ratings, some plastic and some glass, and the higher you go in the scale for either format, the more reduction you will experience in lens thickness. Cost, unfortunately, also goes up as the index rating increases, so you may want to settle on a happy medium in a mid-range index, a lens that offers a balance between the benefits of thinner lenses and price considerations.
If your eyeglass lenses are relatively thick and you want to enjoy the cosmetic and physical advantages of lighter, thinner lenses, explore the world of high index lenses. You may find that you’ll never have to be a Milton again!