When you order prescription glasses, you’ll make some additional choices regarding upgrades and options. The purpose of most lens upgrades are self-explanatory, but selecting an anti-reflective (AR) coating isn’t always an easy choice to make due to the variety.
In this post, I’ll provide you the insights you need regarding your anti-reflective coating options so you can make an informed decision. There are differences in price, function and features, so we’ll look at those here.
How do anti-reflective coatings work?
At the most basic level, all AR coatings defuse light reflections on the front and back surface of the lens. The coatings allow more light to pass through and improve your visual acuity.
Reducing reflections is especially helpful in situations where you have a light source directly hitting your lenses, such as with computer use and night driving.
AR coating improves the sharpness and clarity of your vision by defusing light reflections on your lenses. (Image Source)
With an AR coating, light hitting the front surface of the lens can pass through instead of bouncing off. Having the back of the lens coated prevents light that’s shining behind you from bouncing off the back of the lens and back into your eye. Having a dual surface coating provides crisp, clear vision in all light conditions.
Standard AR coating would be just fine for everyone if reflections were the only issue. However, the reality is there are many more elements coming in contact with your lenses than just light.
Premium anti-reflective coating features
Premium coatings, such as those developed by Crizal, are comprised of unique formulas which:
- Reduce smudges
- Help prevent scratches
- Make the lenses significantly easier to clean
Premium AR coatings go above and beyond simply reducing reflections.
A standard AR coating is typically comprised of two layers:
Premium AR coatings have multiple layers, such as:
- Anti-reflective that is virtually colorless
- Improved scratch resistance
- Hydrophobic—Makes the lenses water repellant
- Oleophobic—Reduces fingerprints
- Anti-static—Repels dust
- UV protection— Protects your eyes from sunlight efects
- Blue light protection—Protects your eyes from harmful effects of digital devices
Here’s a deeper dive on each type:
Standard AR coatings, though they can do a good job of reducing reflections, still have a noticeable greenish hue. Premium AR, like the Crizal Sapphire, has advanced to the point where the AR layer itself is virtually colorless. The coating not only diminishes reflections on your lens, but also eliminates the greenish light flares that can be present on standard AR coatings.
Improved scratch resistance
Thanks to a protective layer called the SR booster, premium AR coatings are significantly better at resisting scratches from the trials of day-to-day wear and tear compared to standard AR coatings. Kids, in particular, benefit greatly from the improved scratch resistance on premium AR coatings.
The hydrophobic layer repels water, makes the lenses easier to clean and also helps prevent fogging. This is a great feature for people that are regularly exposed to winter elements such as rain and snow.
As much as we try, we end up touching our glasses many times throughout the day and in the process we leave fingerprints and smudges behind. An advanced oleophobic layer on premium AR coatings makes it easy to wipe away oils from fingerprints and eyelashes.
When cleaning lenses with a standard AR coating, rubbing a cloth against the lens creates a static charge that attracts dust particles. Crizal has solved this problem by creating an anti-static property which reverses the static charge every time you wipe your lenses with a microfiber cleaning cloth.
Crizal was the first AR manufacturer to include UV protection across their entire AR coating line. Their advanced UV protection ensures UV light bounces off the front surface of the lens but allows it to pass through the back surface.
Blue light protection
Overexposure to short wavelength blue light (380-500nm) has been clinically linked to sleep disorders. With the average adult spending over 10 hours a day on digital devices, Crizal Prevencia is a premium AR coating which limits the amount of harmful blue light reaching the eye by 20%.
Keep in mind that Prevencia has a purple hue, which is quite noticeable compared to Avance and Sapphire. It is suggested that Prevencia be used primarily on computer glasses.
Thanks to the advanced multi-layer application process, premium AR coatings have a longer lifespan than standard AR coatings.
Which anti-reflective coating should you order?
If you’re looking for the best in class protection, clearest field of view and the most durable coating, Crizal Sapphire (+$129) is the best option.
For blue light protection and durability during those long hours on the computer, Crizal Prevencia (+$159) is the coating for you.
If you’re looking for a great value, Crizal Alize (+$79) comes with hydrophobic, oleophobic and UV protection at a great price.
If you’re simply looking to reduce reflections on your lens and you don’t mind the extra maintenance, the standard AR (+$29) could be just what you need.
EZContacts Crizal Lineup. Compare the benefits. (Image source)