Prescription Glasses: Aren’t All Lenses the Same?

Posted on September 20, 2012 · Posted in Eyeglasses

Here’s a fun game:  Let’s say we’re considering buying a new car but know nothing about them.  Car A costs $50,000 and Car B costs $20,000.  Even without any knowledge of cars, we can probably make some assumptions here and one of those is that Car A is likely to be of higher quality than Car B.  Same thing if we’re in the market for a new house.  If House A is $150,000 and House B is $500,000, chances are decent that House B offers you some things that you aren’t going to find in the other.

When we turn our attention to the ophthalmic world, however, all logic seems to get tossed out the window.  Let’s take the lenses in a pair of glasses for example: If Lens A costs $50 and Lens B costs $150, a common conclusion made by the consumer is that Lens A is the “better deal”.  Does this make any sense?  Is it possible that Lens A and Lens B differ in quality, features, and benefits to the wearer in the same way that different priced houses and cars do to their prospective buyers?

I’ll save you the suspense…the answer to the second question is yes. Prescription glasses can have lenses made from a wide variety of lens materials each differing in refractive index, specific gravity, Abbe number, and other technical mumbo-jumbo.  These different properties can make a lens thicker or thinner, heavier or lighter, or optically superior or inferior to another lens material.

When looking at costs of lenses, always make sure you’re comparing apples to apples.  Ask your eye care provider what lens materials they recommend, why, and what benefits they’ll provide for you.  Armed with this information, you’re well-equipped to make accurate comparisons.