Eye Health & Info,  Lenses & Coatings

Glass Vs Plastic Lenses: Which Is Right For You?

You’ve just gone for your bi-yearly check up at your local opticians and you’ve been told that you will need to wear glasses.

With all the different information available online on lens design, lens material etc so you become overwhelmed. In this article we will briefly look at the pros and cons of two lens materials that are used when making glasses and we’ll give our verdict on which material we think is best.

Glass

Pros:

  • Mineral glass is highly scratch resistant as it is a very strong lens material.
  • Glass offers excellent optical quality which means you are able to see very clearly with glass lenses when compared to plastic lenses.
  • Glass lenses can be thinner than plastic lenses; thinner lenses are obviously more desirable than thick lenses.

Cons:

  • Glass shatters on impact which makes it a dangerous material to use, especially in glasses designed for young children or those in sports i.e. football, or rugby.
  • Glass lenses can only fitted in fully rimmed frames which limits the range of products it can be fitted with. Glass cannot be easily tinted so the availability of tints is limited.
  • Glass lenses can also be very heavy in comparison to plastic lenses. Rimless or semi rimless frames would not be able to support glass lenses due to its weight.

Plastic

Pros:

  • Unlike glass which can be very heavy in frames, plastic is much lighter. This makes it easier to fit plastic lenses in all types of frames (full, semi/supra or rimless).
  • Any photochromic tints can be applied to a plastic lens. Photochromic lenses will turn dark when there is excessive light and turn lighter with insufficient light.
  • Polarized tints can also be applied using plastic lenses, these help to filter the various directions of light reducing the amount of glare. Through polarised lenses, the sea will appear more transparent.
  • Plastic lenses are very durable. They are shatter proof, making it a great choice for those who actively participate in sports. If you break or drop your glasses frequently or have young children, plastic lenses would be a perfect choice.

Cons:

  • Plastic lenses offer lesser optical quality than glass. However, there are more refractive indexes available with plastic lenses. This means it’s available to all prescription strengths from low to high.
  • Plastic lenses scratch easily due to their soft surface which is why a scratch resistant coating is applied immediately to these lenses.
  • Plastic lenses can also be thicker than glass however there are thin plastic lenses are available but mainly ideal for higher prescriptions.

Our Verdict?

Glass may have seemed like a great choice of material back in its day but with all the advanced materials now available, this is no longer an ideal choice. Plastic is much lighter than glass and can be made thinner for those with high prescriptions.

Plastic, despite the lesser optical quality when compared to glass, is more versatile (widely available in a range of frames and tints can be applied) and durable (shatter proof and long lasting) making it the right choice for you.

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Hey! I am Gabrielle Riley a Fashion Graduate from the University of Leeds now creating fashion content at Fashion Eyewear so you are always up to date with the current eyewear trends and facts!

3 Comments

  • Ricky

    plastic lens scratch very easily if you work with stone or any kind of mineral and are not careful with the dust they will not last very long

  • simon

    I just paid £157 at Boots & have only just discovered the lenses are PLASTIC! Not happy to pay this much for a couple of bits of crappy plastic when I thought I was getting glass! ( Clue is in the name – “glasses”!)

    • ANONYMOUS

      Yes ur right few crappy pieces of plastic but with a and slight bend for its focal length and a 2 or more layers for uv blue light and blah blah protection so it is not like u got ripped off so don’t worry

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