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As more than 6 in ten people wear glasses, there are a lot of options to fit every budget and need. Walking into an optometrist or eye shop could be an overwhelming affair if you’re in there for the first time. Picking the best frames is easy compared to trying to figure out what the best eyeglass lenses are.

Here is a guide to help you choose the best eyeglass lenses for your needs.

Consider Lens Material

While you might have spent a long time thinking about the frames of your glasses, they’re practically speaking the least important part. For all that your eyes care, they can be neon green and made of clay. Your eyes are going to be most affected by the types of lenses that you put in the frames.

If you’ve never bought glasses before, you might think that you’re going to be buying lenses made of glass. The most popular lenses are actually both made out of plastic. Glass is heavier and less durable than the plastic material most lenses are made out of.

Lenses are usually made from plastics like polycarbonate or CR-39. Lenses made from CR-39 are most common for single-vision prescriptions if you need to see better either far away or close up. They’re cheap and you can get them for under $100, although depending on how strong your prescription is, they could be thick.

Polycarbonate allows you to have much thinner lenses. These vary in price in quality much more wildly than CR-39 lenses. They could go anywhere from $10 to $200.

Depending on where you buy your glasses from, you could end up getting lenses for free as a total package. However, if you need to buy lenses that are more complicated than single-prescription types, you might need to do more digging.

More Complicated Lens Types

There are four major types of lenses including high-index, progressive lenses, high-definition, and trivex lenses. These all have different purposes, uses, and ratings for durability. They’ll all have a different price range as well.

High-index lenses are the thinnest and lightest option for people with strong prescriptions. In previous eras, you needed to have thicker lenses if you had a strong prescription. High-index offers the possibility to have something less bulky than even polycarbonate lenses at the most serious and intense prescription.

Progressive lenses are useful for people who have different needs. Where bifocals and trifocals were once the only options for people who had different sight needs, progressive lenses eliminate that discomfort. While they cost more than a standard bifocal, you don’t see the clear delineation and have what you need in a single CR-39, polycarbonate, or high-index lens.

High-definition lenses give you clear and sharper sight and peripheral vision than what you’d get from a standard lens. If you have complex vision problems, use your sight for video, photography, or detailed work. If you work in microtechnology or something that requires intense use of your vision, opt for HD lenses.

Trivex lenses are strong lenses that can resist scratches better than most other types of lenses. If you wear rimless frames or put your glasses through a lot of pressure, trivex is the way to go.

Coating Can Make a Difference

Choosing the right coating can ensure that your eyes are protected from glare, intense light, or magnification of light.

The most common type of coating is an anti-scratch protection that is typical with most plastic lenses. Some companies will replace lenses that get scratched in the first year. If you have the option, opt for a warranty on scratch-protection, but beware of cheaper coating, as that can lead to deterioration over time.

Anti-reflective and ultraviolet protection are two other common types of coating. They’re a smart choice for people who do a lot of driving or spend a lot of time outside. You’ll find that they’re often bundled as part of the package with lenses that you’ll buy from most standard eyeglass retailers.

Photochromic coating can help you by protecting you in bright sunlight or where you could be dealing with intense UV rays. If you don’t like having a separate pair of sunglasses to carry around, this is a choice that could help you be more comfortable in any weather.

In recent years, there’s been a new type of eyeglasses technology that helps to reduce the impact of exposure to the blue light of computer screens. Some studies have shown a link between this type of light and macular degeneration.

Save Yourself Some Money

While you might look around an eyeglass shop and think that the prices are out of reach, remember that no prices are firm. Most people working in a commercial eye shop are working on commission. They’ll be paid on commision by sales and will want to make a sale more than to meet the sticker price.

Ask for a discount on a total package. Otherwise, ask to have all the costs broken down. It might sound strange, but it’s not uncommon to buy lenses from one shop and frames from another.

If coatings are being added that you don’t suspect you need, maybe you can skip them. Check prices online and see what the lenses you’re interested typically go for. If you find that the prices in a shop you want to work with are out of your range, you could tell them you found those lenses cheaper.

You might be able to haggle them down if you’re clever.

The Best Eyeglass Lenses Don’t Need To Bankrupt You

When you’re looking for the best eyeglass lenses for your needs, you could be overwhelmed with options. Take your time in deciding what you need, as you’ll be dealing with those lenses for years to come. It’s okay to ask questions of your optometrist or eye shop employee.

Check out our latest guide if you’re struggling to find the perfect glasses to fit your face.