Updated on  February 16, 2023
4 min read

Single Vision Lenses

Vision Center is funded by our readers. We may earn commissions if you purchase something via one of our links.

What are Single Vision Lenses?

Single vision lenses have only one prescription for farsightedness, nearsightedness, or astigmatism.

Most prescription glasses and reading glasses have single vision lenses. Some people can use their single vision glasses for both far and near, depending on their type of prescription.

Single vision lenses for farsighted people are thicker at the center. Single vision lenses for wearers with nearsightedness are thicker at the edges.

Single vision lenses generally range between 3-4mm in thickness. The thickness varies depending on the size of the frame and lens material chosen.

Where to Buy Glasses + Contacts

Best Overall: Warby Parker

Fastest Delivery: EyeBuyDirect

Also Great: Liingo

Best Place to Buy Contacts: 1800 Contacts

What Refractive Errors Can Single Vision Lenses Correct?

A refractive error means that the shape of your eye bends light incorrectly. The result is blurry vision. Various types of refractive errors that affect your eyesight in different ways.

Each can cause the following symptoms:

  • Blurry near or distance vision
  • Double vision
  • Seeing glare or halos around bright lights
  • Headaches
  • Eye fatigue
  • Eye soreness

Fortunately, you can correct nearly all visual needs with eyeglasses or contact lenses.

Single vision glasses can correct the most common refractive errors:


Myopia refers to nearsightedness. Objects that are far away can be difficult to see clearly. Single vision distance lenses can help.


Hyperopia refers to farsightedness. Objects that are close up can be difficult to see clearly. Single vision reading lenses can help.


Presbyopia refers to the loss of near vision due to age. Objects that are close up can be difficult to see clearly. Single vision reading lenses can help.


Astigmatism is a condition that makes vision blurry at all distances because of the cornea’s asymmetric curvature. Both single vision reading lenses and single vision distance lenses can help you achieve clear vision.

graphic comparing normal vision, myopia refractive error, and hyperopia refractive error

Types of Single Vision Lenses

There are a few different single vision lens options for vision correction. Here are three prescription lenses you should know:

1.59 Polycarbonate Single Vision

Polycarbonate single vision lenses are characterized by their durability and impact resistance. They often include an anti-scratch coating or anti-reflective coating.

This lens type is much lighter and thinner than a traditional plastic lens. They also block the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation, offering maximum UV protection.

1.57 Mid-Index Single Vision

Mid-index single vision lenses are 15 percent thinner than regular plastic and moderately lighter and stronger. Like polycarbonate single vision lenses, they often feature an anti-scratch coating and an anti-reflective coating.

More importantly, these lenses are ideal for people with relatively higher prescriptions. However, they are not as thin as polycarbonate lenses.

Polarized Single Vision 

Polarized single vision lenses are sunglasses that protect your eyes from light that bounces off smooth, highly reflective surfaces.

The lenses work by controlling certain light properties and limiting specific wavelengths. They boast a vertical filter that doesn’t allow horizontal glare to pass through.

Single Vision vs. Bifocal Lenses vs. Progressive Lenses

Eyewear can have single vision, bifocal, or progressive lenses.

Types of Glasses Lenses

Bifocals and progressive lenses correct vision in people with more than one refractive error.

Bifocals have two focal lengths for anyone who needs help seeing close-up images and objects at a distance. The lower portion of the lens helps wearers to view objects at near. The upper portion of the lens helps them see clearly beyond that distance.

Progressive lenses add an intermediate vision field between the near and far corrective zones. 

Single vision lenses are for people with only one refractive error.

How Much Do Single Vision Lenses Cost?

Consumers spend an average of $400 on frames and lenses without vision insurance.

Several other factors will impact the cost of your eyeglasses, such as:

  • Your prescription
  • Any lens coatings (anti-reflective coating, blue light filtering, etc.)
  • Your frame material
  • Where you live
  • Where you shop for your glasses

According to the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC's) Eyeglass Rule, your optician must give you your prescription at no extra cost. You should take that prescription to shop for a pair of glasses with single vision lenses that fit your budget.


Single vision lenses can help correct different refractive errors. Different types of single vision lenses are also available to help correct your vision. Remember that an eye exam is necessary to determine your vision prescription. Consult an eye doctor beforehand to know whether single vision lenses are right for you.

Best Places to Buy Glasses

Best Overall

Warby Parker has stylish, high-quality frames at affordable prices.

Also Great

Liingo Eyewear is another great option to buy glasses online.

Best on a Budget

EyeBuyDirect has a wide variety of budget frames starting at $6.

Best Places to Buy Contacts

Best Overall

1-800 Contacts is our #1 recommendation to buy contacts online.

glasses usa logo
Also Great

GlassesUSA has a huge selection of contacts, glasses, & sunglasses.

Updated on  February 16, 2023
12 sources cited
Updated on  February 16, 2023
  1. Ardura, N. “5 Solid Benefits of Using Eyeglasses.” Vienna Eyecare Center, 2020

  2. “Corrective Lenses for Refractive Error.” Patient Care at NYU Langone Health. 

  3. “Polarized Lenses and How They Work.” Dr. Floyd Smith | Optometrist, Westwood, NJ 07675, 2013.  

  4. “Eyeglass & Contact Lens Store Buying Guide.” Consumer Reports

  5. “The Many Benefits of Wearing Eyeglasses.” Family Vision Development Center, 2019

  6. “How to Choose Your Lenses” Vlook. 

  7. “Lens Options.” Medical Eye Center, 2019

  8. “Refractive Errors.” National Eye Institute, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

  9. “Refractive Errors.” Refractive Errors | Kellogg Eye Center | Michigan Medicine

  10. “Types of Prescription Glasses – Multifocal and More.” Medical Eye Center, 2018.

  11. “What Are Polycarbonate Lenses?” Doctor Of Eye, 2017. 

  12. “What Is Astigmatism?” American Academy of Ophthalmology, 2018.

Vision Center Logo
The information provided on VisionCenter.org should not be used in place of actual information provided by a doctor or a specialist.
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram