Four types of lens coatings
Lens coatings such as ultraviolet coating, anti-reflective coating, mirror coating and scratch-resistant coating can improve the performance and appearance of optical lenses. Each of these coatings can bring a specific benefit that is inherently unavailable. For instance, no optical lenses are born with scratch resistance. And most eyewear users have experienced unwanted lens reflection. Except for lenses made of polycarbonate, other types of lenses by their own do no provide protection against harmful ultraviolet radiation. Customers can choose a coating according to personal needs.
Cataracts, retinal damage and other eye problems are associated with UV overexposure. Currently, almost all sunglasses are applied with a UV treatment to block out harmful UV rays. UV protection is essential to your eye health during outdoor activities. An UV treatment is invisible so that it does not affect the lens’ natural appearance. For any sunglasses users, it is important to be certain that the sunwear provides exactly 100% protections against both UVA and UVB rays. This protection is especially critical for children, who spend much time outdoors. Polycarbonate lenses and most lenses made of high-index plastics have an inherent anti-UV property. Buyers choosing these lenses are needless to worry about UV damage.
Similar to microscopes and camera lenses, eyeglass lenses can also benefit from anti-reflective (AR) coatings, which improve both vision and aesthetic traits of the lenses. In most cases, both the front and back lens surfaces are applied with AR coatings. Each of the AR coating’s several layers of metal oxides blocks reflected light. As a result, both internal and external reflections can be reduced. In addition, AR coating can also minimize bothersome glare, halos around lights, thus better vision and natural eye appearance can be achieved. Sunglass lens producers always apply AR coating only to the back surface of the lens in order to prevent reflections when the sun is behind the wearer’s eyes. AR coating on the front surface of a sunglass lens results in smeary look because of the lens’ darkness. AR coatings are helpful to all people, especially those who spend much time in front of TV.
Sometimes called flash coating, a mirror coating is extremely reflective, which is completely different from a clear anti-reflective coating. Mirror coatings are simply cosmetic that provide special appearances. Today, mirror coatings in colors such as rainbow, silver, gold and copper metallic can be applied to the front surface of sunglass lenses. Only other people can see these colors, rather than the wearer. In other words, the color of a mirror coating is invisible to the user. Today, many sunglasses with a dark color are applied with a mirror coating.
Scratches on lenses are common, which can result from dropping on the floor or regular lens cleaning. A clear, hard coating named scratch-resistant coating is usually added to the front surface of eyeglass lenses in most materials to improve their scratch resistance. Since no lens material is born with scratch resistance, many manufacturers produce lenses with built-in scratch-resistant coatings. Even with protective scratch-resistant coating, you should also take proper care of your eyeglasses, such as using a microfiber cloth and recommended cleaning solutions.
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