Better vision ... for a Better life

Anti-reflective coating: See better and look better

Anti-reflective coating (also called "AR coating" or "anti-glare  coating") improves vision, reduces eye strain and makes your eyeglasses look more attractive.

These benefits are due to the ability of AR coating to virtually eliminate reflections from the front and back surfaces of your eyeglass lenses.

With reflections gone, more light passes through your lenses to optimize visual acuity with fewer distractions (especially at night), and the lenses look nearly invisible — which enhances your appearance by drawing more attention to your eyes and helping you make better "eye contact" with others.

AR coating is especially beneficial when used on high-index lenses, which reflect more light than regular plastic lenses. Generally, the higher the


of the lens material, the more light that will be reflected from the surface of the lenses.

For example, regular plastic lenses reflect roughly 8 percent of light hitting the lenses, so only 92 percent of available light enters the eye for vision.

High index plastic lenses can reflect up to 50 percent more light than regular plastic lenses (approximately 12 percent of available light), so even less light is available to the eye for vision. This can be particularly troublesome in low-light conditions, such as when driving at night.

Today's modern anti-reflective coatings can virtually eliminate the reflection of light from eyeglass lenses, allowing 99.5 percent of available light to pass through the lenses and enter the eye for good vision.

By eliminating reflections, AR coating also makes your eyeglass lenses look nearly invisible so people can see your eyes and facial expressions more clearly. Anti-reflective glasses also are more attractive, so you can look your best in all lighting conditions.


The visual benefits of lenses with anti-reflective coating include sharper vision with less glare when driving at night and greater comfort during prolonged computer use (compared with wearing eyeglass lenses without AR coating).

When applied to photochromic lenses, AR coating enhances the clarity and comfort of these premium lenses in all light conditions without reducing their sun-reactive performance.

Anti-reflective coating also is a good idea for sunglasses, because it eliminates glare from sunlight reflecting into your eyes from the back surface of tinted lenses when the sun is behind you. (Generally, AR coating is applied only to the back surface of sunglass lenses because there are no cosmetic or visual benefits to eliminating reflections from the front surface of dark-tinted lenses.)

Most premium AR lenses include a surface treatment that seals the anti-reflective layers and makes the lenses easier to clean. "Hydrophobic" surface treatments repel water, preventing the formation of water spots.

Some anti-reflective lenses have surface treatments that are both hydrophobic and "oleophobic" (also called lipophobic), which means they repel both water and oil. These combination treatments typically contain fluorinated materials that give the lenses properties that are very similar to those of nonstick cookware.


How do I know if I need glasses?

Vision changes can be sneaky. They rarely just show up one day as blurry sight, problems reading fine print or street signs, or difficulty with night vision.

Instead, you’ll likely experience a very gradual decline in your visual acuity that you may not notice at first. Or, you might start squinting or experiencing eye strain, headaches or other discomfort that you didn't have before.

“The classic symptoms of needing glasses include headaches, eye aches, frowning and squinting,” says Agustin Gonzalez, OD, FAAO, an optometrist in private practice in Richardson, Texas. “Flashes and floaters, sudden loss of vision or eye pain are things that should be looked at immediately.”

Other signs and symptoms that may indicate you need glasses include needing brighter light to see or read clearly, seeing halos around light sources (like car headlights and light bulbs), losing your place while reading, and distorted or double vision.

Signs you may need glasses

  • The most common vision problems and eye conditions that will make you feel you need glasses (or a change to your current eyeglass prescription) include:
  • Nearsightedness (myopia), which makes it difficult to see distant objects clearly. Myopics usually are able to see well for close-up tasks.
  • Farsightedness (hyperopia), a condition where focusing on up-close objects or tasks is challenging, but distance vision is normal.
  • Presbyopia, defined as the normal loss of near focusing ability that happens to just about everyone sometime after age 40.
  • Cataracts, or a clouding of the eye's natural lens, which is the most common cause of vision loss in people over age 40. Cataracts are treated with surgery and the implantation of an intraocular lens (IOL).
  • Symptoms of computer vision syndrome from excessive use of electronic devices with visual displays — including smartphones, computers and tablets — also can be a clue that you need glasses.
  • Eye strain, dry eyes, blurred vision, red eyes, burning, light sensitivity, headaches and pain in the shoulders, neck and back are all symptoms of computer vision syndrome.
  • Anyone who spends a good part of their day staring at LED screens is at risk for developing this condition, including children. Treatment for computer vision syndrome is available, including prescription computer glasses.

Do you need glasses? See an eye doctor

The best way to know for sure if you need glasses is to find an eye doctor near you and schedule a comprehensive eye exam. Seeing an eye doctor is especially important if you’re experiencing any of the vision problems described above.

An eye doctor is the only person who know for sure if you need glasses (and possibly other treatments to resolve your symptoms).

During your eye exam, Gonzalez advises that your pupils be dilated, providing the optimal “open window" for your eye doctor to look directly into your eyes to evaluate your ocular health.

“Even though there’s a lot of great technology that allows for imaging of the hidden areas of the internal eye, dilation improves the quality of the image,” he says.

Good vision is essential for virtually all aspects of a normal life. Staying ahead of any eye problems that may develop is the best way to maintain healthy eyesight.

“Oftentimes we seek advice when things go wrong, but the big payoff is keeping things from going wrong, and having an annual eye exam is one way to do that,” Gonzalez says.