Buying glasses can feel strangely like buying a new car: prices are often hidden from you, they cost more than they’re entitled to, and there are plenty of mysterious upgrades on offer. Coatings. I’m talking about coatings: the anti-scratch and anti-reflective elements you can add to your lenses to make your glasses – and your vision – ever more powerful. On the surface, this sounds like common sense. (As the man who once cleaned his glasses with a concrete splatter shirt tail that acted like sandpaperanti-scratch coatings seem like a good idea.) But do these coatings actually work, and do you really need any of them?
It’s simply a clear coat applied to the front and back of your lenses that helps protect them from scratches and scuffs as you navigate your friction-filled life. Almost all modern lenses are pretty scratch resistant in their basic form, but the word “resistant” doesn’t mean “waterproof”, so adding a little extra protection is always a good idea. If you have the option of adding extra scratch resistance, it’s usually worth it, as it extends the useful life of your eyewear.
Recommendation: Hard yes.
This coating reduces the amount of light reflected from your lenses. This can help improve the clarity of what you are watching, especially computer screens, which pull light to your eyes and helps with night vision, especially when driving. Contrary to what you may have heard, they won’t actually do much against glare, like when someone lights you up on the highway. However, not everyone needs AR coatings – if you don’t drive a lot at night and do a lot of work in front of a screen, you may never notice the need for them.
Recommendation: It depends on your lifestyle.
Ultraviolet (UV) light is the violence of the sone shines towards us every day – it’s the same ray of light that blesses us with sunburn and, eventually, skin cancer. So as you can imagine it’s not great good for your eyes either, which is why most sunglasses advertise some UV protection. Keep in mind, however, that your standard uncoated eyeglass lens already blocks most UV rays – the coating just increases that to 100% protection.
Recommendation: Not a bad idea, but only essential if you spend a lot of time in the sun.
This coating aims to reduce or eliminate that death-defying moment when you go outside in cold weather and your glasses immediately become cloudy with water vapor, or when you put on that face mask and your own exhale turns against you. . You can get a coating on your lenses that will fight fogging, but that’s not always available if you have a complex prescription or other coatings on the lens – and that only lasts about 1-2 years. You might be better off just using one of the many wipes, sprays and gels available to prevent fogging, or just deal with the occasional annoyance.
Recommendation: Probably pass.
blue light blockers
All of the screens we look at throughout the day emit “blue light” towards us, a frequency of visible light that has been shown to have a negative impact on our overall health. So getting a coating that filters out that blue light might sound like a good idea. But there’s actually no evidence that a blue light blocking coating will do you any good – most of the problems we have with our eyes after a long day staring at screens have nothing to do with the light blue. This coating won’t do you any harm, but it probably won’t do you any good.
There are other coatings you can get, like a mirror coating that will tint your lenses, keeping them opaque so people can’t see your eyes (but don’t block light entering your eyes like sunglasses do). sun) or transition coatings that darken the lenses in response to light, turning your glasses into sunglasses. These coatings are just a personal choice – if you want cool colored lenses or hate having separate sunglasses to go back and forth, go for it.
In the end, you don’t have need any of these coatings – your glasses will do their job just as well without them – and the only coating that is a good choice for everybody is the anti-scratch coating. For the rest, consider how you live and how you use your glasses before buying them.
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