When it comes to glasses lenses, there are many options. An anti-glare or anti-reflective coating is a common upgrade when shopping for new lenses.
But what does an anti-glare coating do, and is it worth the extra money?
This article explains what anti-glare glasses are, their benefits and disadvantages, and how they differ from other lens options. Read on for all the information you need to decide whether an anti-glare treatment makes sense.
What are Anti-Glare Glasses?
Anti-glare (AG) glasses, also known as anti-reflective (AR) glasses, have a special coating applied to the lenses. The coating helps reduce glare that occurs when light hits the lenses. Reduced glare leads to better visual clarity and less eye fatigue.
Anti-glare lenses also help improve your appearance when you wear glasses. When light reflects off the surfaces of uncoated lenses, it can create distracting glare that hides your eyes.
Reducing the glare makes the glasses more transparent. This allows people to see your eyes instead of reflections.
Anti-Glare vs. Anti-Reflective
The terms anti-glare and anti-reflective are often used interchangeably. However, there’s a slight difference between the two:
- Anti-glare glasses. This term more accurately describes polarized sunglasses, which reduce harsh light reflections like the sun bouncing off smooth water.
- Anti-reflective glasses. The lenses have a thin layer of coating that allows more light to pass through the lenses instead of being reflected.
To be clear, when we mention anti-glare glasses in this article, we’re talking about lenses with an AG coating.
If you’re looking for polarized lenses, there are many great options in our guide to the best sunglasses for men and women.
How Does Anti-Reflective Coating Work?
Anti-reflective coatings are usually made up of multiple layers of metal oxides applied to the front and back surfaces of the lens. The exact formula varies based on the manufacturer.
AR coatings are microscopic layers that reduce reflected light and allow more light to pass through the lenses.
Some eyeglass lenses come with factory-applied AG. Others, such as progressive and multifocal lenses, undergo anti-glare coating after they've been customized to your specific needs.
7 Benefits of Anti-Glare Glasses
Although anti-reflective lens coatings aren’t necessary, they provide numerous advantages that make them worth it. Here are 7 benefits of anti-glare glasses:
1. Superior Optical Clarity
AG glasses reduce reflections and increase the amount of light that reaches your eyes. This enhances your overall visual acuity.
Modern AG lenses are durable. Unlike past versions of this technology, the coating won't rub off over time.
3. Reduced Eye Strain
Anti-reflective lenses make it easier for eyes to focus on small letters and patterns. This reduces eye fatigue during prolonged computer use and can help people who see halos around lights while night driving.
4. Improved Appearance
Anti-glare glasses are more attractive than uncoated lenses. Because uncoated lenses reflect light, they distract from your appearance.
5. Easy to Clean
Anti-glare glasses use compounds that help keep dirt, smudges, and watermarks away.
Clean only with mild soap and warm water or a non-alcohol spray cleaner. Dry the lenses with a soft microfiber cloth to avoid scratches.
6. Better Eye Contact
Eliminating glare means the lenses appear clear all the time. This makes your eyes more visible behind the lenses, which improves eye contact.
7. Improved Night Driving
Anti-glare glasses can be particularly beneficial when driving at night. They reduce glare from headlights and streetlights, which minimizes the halo effect and improves safety.
Disadvantages of Anti-Glare Glasses
Even with the multiple benefits, anti-glare glasses have their share of drawbacks.
- Any scratches on the lens can reduce visual acuity
- Some are prone to scratches or peels if not handled with care
- May require more frequent cleaning because dirt becomes more visible without the glare
- Cannot be repaired (replacement only)
- Thin lenses get worn out over time
- More expensive than regular prescription lenses
How to Choose the Right AR Coating
There are several makers of anti-glare glasses, each with its own specifications. For example, the AR coating can be single or multiple-layered.
The more layers, the more the glare-blocking ability. Quality brands often have multiple layers and cost more.
Your lifestyle can also help determine the best anti-glare coating for you. If you spend most of your time on a TV or computer screen, your eye doctor may recommend blue light-blocking lenses, such as Crizal Prevencia or Shamir Glacier Plus.
Be sure to talk to your eye doctor about the best anti-glare glasses for you.
How Much Do Anti-Glare Glasses Cost?
On average, adding an anti-glare coating to your lenses may cost about $20 to $150 more than your initial cost.
The cost of anti-reflective lenses depends on factors like lens type, frame design, and coating quality.
The price may also change from one optician to another based on experience or location. Additionally, the cost may vary depending on whether you have vision insurance and how much your plan covers.
Are Anti-Glare Glasses Worth It?
Yes, an anti-glare coating is worth the added cost. Anti-glare glasses often cost more than standard prescription glasses, but they're not out of reach.
The additional cost is worth it, considering the benefits. Reduced eye strain and better visual clarity alone will enhance your quality of life.
Are Anti-Glare Glasses the Same as Blue Light Glasses?
Anti-glare lenses and blue light glasses are not the same. However, they both serve overlapping purposes.
AG lenses have an anti-reflective coating that reduces reflections and glare caused by light.
Anti-glare glasses allow the full spectrum of visible light to pass through, including a significant amount of blue light.
Anti-glare glasses reduce glare from bright lights, computer screens, and headlights while driving at night. This helps reduce eye strain and improve optical clarity.
Blue Light Glasses
Blue-cut lenses or blue light-blocking glasses are specially designed to filter or block blue light from digital screens. Some blue light glasses may have an anti-reflective coating on them.
Blue light-blocking lenses may reduce the harmful effects of blue light on sleep, especially when working at night. People who spend significant time in front of computer screens and other digital devices like smartphones and tablets may benefit from blue light protection.
However, blue light glasses have little to no effect on reducing symptoms of digital eye strain. According to research, anti-blue light glasses can lower the risk of macular degeneration.6
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do anti-glare treatments block UV light?
The anti-reflective layer doesn’t protect the eyes against harmful UV rays. When purchasing eyeglasses and sunglasses, it’s essential to look for lenses with 100% UV protection.
Is it good to wear anti-glare glasses?
Yes. Wearing glasses with an anti-glare coating can help reduce reflections, alleviate eye strain, and improve your overall vision. It also enhances your appearance by making your eyes more visible to others.
How do I know if I need anti-glare glasses?
AG glasses have many benefits. However, they may not be necessary for everyone. If you don't have glare, reflections, or eye strain issues, you may not need anti-glare glasses.
The best way to know if an anti-glare lens coating is right for you is to consult your optometrist or ophthalmologist.
Do prescription glasses come with an anti-glare coating?
Anti-reflective lens coatings are typically added to prescription lenses as an upgrade. Some brands like Warby Parker include the coating in their standard lenses.
Talk to your optometrist about whether your prescription lenses contain an anti-glare coating.
Anti-glare (AG) glasses are eyeglass lenses fused with an anti-reflective coating to prevent reflections from both sides of the lens. They enhance comfort, reduce eye strain and improve the cosmetic appearance of your eyeglasses.
The anti-reflective coating has multiple layers of metal oxides applied to the front and back surfaces of the lens. These AG coatings block the amount of light reflected into the eye, allowing in more light. This enables clear vision.
Anti-glare glasses are durable, easy to clean, protective, and improve visual acuity. As a downside, they cost more than uncoated lenses.
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