Eyeglass Lens Materials

Hard Resin

Conventional hard resin lenses are half the weight of glass lenses and can be tinted to almost any color and intensity. Hard resin lenses are more easily scratched than glass but can have an optional scratch protection applied. More impact resistant than glass, hard resin lenses do not require tempering.

Lighter, thinner lenses

Modern technology has created lenses that bend light differently so that stronger prescriptions are thinner than when made in conventional materials. Such lenses are called "high index" and stronger prescriptions are more attractive because they are slimmer. Glass lenses are also available with the slimming advantages of high index but are considerably heavier. High index plastic uses less material, so the lenses are often lighter in weight. High index lenses absorb all harmful UV light and can be tinted to any shade of color.

Lenses that darken in the sun

These are photochromic lenses that darken as you go from indoors to outdoors. They are available in glass, hard resin and polycarbonate. Originally made to darken to a moderate shade, new versions are available that darken to true sunglasses. Ask for a demonstration of these lenses.


Polycarbonate lenses are the most impact resistant lenses available and are always the lens of choice for young people and active patients. Polycarbonate lenses are high index and usually provide the lightest, most comfortable lenses. They absorb all harmful UV light and can be made ultra thin because of their unique strength.


For years glass was the only lens material available, and glass still offers superior optics. The most scratch-resistant material, the primary disadvantage of glass is its weight, generally twice that of hard resin. Glass lenses are tempered by heat or chemicals to increase impact resistance.


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