Our Monroe Twp. office at 298 Applegarth Rd is now open.

Lens and Lens Options

The Optical Shoppe offers a wide selection of lens styles and materials. When you come in and visit us we will discuss, explain and sometimes be able to demonstrate all the newest technologies and lens options. During our discussion, the costs for each lens material, style and treatments will be discussed.

Lens Materials


For many years, glass was the only option for eyeglass lenses. It still offers superior optics and is the most scratch-resistant. However, it is also the heaviest of all lens materials. To increase the impact resistance of a glass lens, it is either heat or chemically treated.


Conventional plastic lenses are half the weight of glass lenses and can be tinted to almost any color and density. Plastic lenses are generally more easily scratched. Therefore at The Optical Shopper, ALL plastic lenses will come with a scratch-coating unless otherwise asked. Plastic lenses are more impact resistant than glass.


Modern technology has allowed lens manufacturers to create a new type of plastic lens that is thinner and lighter than conventional plastic lenses. These lenses are called “Hi-Index” lenses. Because they are thinner and lighter, they offer a more cosmetically pleasing appearance to the stronger power lenses. Glass lenses are also available in a “High-Index” material but is very heavy. Hi-Index lenses absorb all harmful U-V rays, can be tinted, and are available in most lens styles.


Polycarbonate lenses are THE most impact-resistant lenses available and are always the lens of choice for kids, teens, and active adults. Polycarbonate lenses are used in ALL sport goggles. Polycarbonate lenses are generally the lightest weight lenses available. Because of there unique strength, polycarbonate lenses can be made ultra thin. They absorb all harmful U-V rays.

Photochromatic Lenses

Until a few years ago, lenses that would darken as you go from indoors and outdoors were only available in glass lenses known as “Photo-Grey Extra” or Photo-Sun. These lenses were made of glass and made by Corning. Recently, modern materials and technologies have made it possible for plastic and hi-index lenses to also change. These are called “Transitions”â lenses, or Sunsensor™. They are available in most lens styles, have a scratch –coating on them and block all harmful U-V rays.

Lens Designs

Single Vision Lenses

Single vision lenses function as an all purpose glasses for some people. Persons who normally wear bifocals or trifocals can use single vision lenses for distance, near or intermediate work. They are available in all lens materials.

Progressive Addition Lenses (no-line bifocals)

The new lens of choice for first time bifocal wearers, Progressive Addition Lenses (PAL), offers continuous clear vision at all distances. Since they have no line, PALs have the cosmetic advantage of looking like single vision lenses. PALs are available in all lens materials and are also made in aspheric form. These are the most expensive of the multifocal lenses.

Variable Reading Lenses

A new design, this lens is basically a “task-specific” or “Computer” lens. The design of this lens allows a person to read at his or her normal distance and then just by raising their eyes the intermediate comes into focus. There is no line and the field of view is wide. This is quickly becoming a favorite of people who sit at computers for long periods of time. Bring in an old frame you are not using and let us make up a pair of these and just leave them at your computer. They are priced a little more than simple reading lenses, and are a lot less than PALs.

Polarized Sun Lenses

These lenses for sunglasses are simply the best on the market. A polarized lens cuts through glare from the road, cars, and especially water. In the past exclusively fishermen and hunters used them. But now they are available in all lens styles and is quickly becoming the premium sunglasses of choice.

Flat Top Bifocals

This was the most popular multifocal form and is made in a variety of widths. A flat top bifocal has a distinct distance and reading area. Flat top bifocals are made in every type of lens material. These are the least expensive multifocal lenses.

Executive Bifocals

For those persons who need the widest field of vision for near work, the executive bifocal. With its line all the way across the lens may be called for. However, due to its distinctive design, the line is the most obvious and they are the thickest of all the multifocal designs. They are slowly being replaced with wide field Flat Top bifocals.


Trifocals come in almost all the same designs as bifocals. Flat top trifocals are the most widely used trifocal style. The added segment is used for mid or intermediate (i.e. computer) range. Trifocals are available in all lens materials.

Sport Glasses

There are many special lens designs for the sports enthusiasts. Polycarbonate is usually the lens of choice for active sports. Many brand name sport and performance sunwear are now available with prescription lenses.

Aspheric Lenses

By flattening the curvature of the lens, these new lenses allow those persons with stronger corrections to have special visual and cosmetic benefits. Aspheric lenses help eliminate the ‘bulgy” effect of high plus (far-sighted correction) lenses. Magnification of the eye is reduced for far-sighted corrections and there is less of the “small eyes” effect on high minus (near-sighted correction) lenses. Aspheric lenses are often made in high–index lenses thus giving you the ultimate in thin lenses.

Occupational Lenses

For those occupations with special needs, there are many lens styles that can benefit you. If you feel you have these special needs, please let us know and we will explain what will work best for your individual needs. These might include computer glasses. (see variable reading lenses)

Lens Options and Treatments

All lenses sold by The Optical Shoppe come with a scratch-resistant coating to help protect lenses from normal scratching.

UV Protection

Ultraviolet rays can pose harm to your eyes. Special treatment of plastic lenses is available to block these harmful rays. Hi-Index and polycarbonate lenses include built-in UV protection at no extra cost.

Anti-Reflective Coatings

This special coating, similar to the coating used in camera lenses, and is a great lens for people who have trouble driving at night. It cuts through the “star-like” effect of oncoming headlights.

Cosmetically, these lenses remove most reflections from off the lens, making it appear that you have no lenses at all. This is a great lens for those who do public speaking, eliminating the distracting glare from your glasses. It requires the most care of all the coatings but THE OPTICAL SHOPPE will provide you with the appropriate cleaning materials.

Lens Company Links

The Polycarbonate Council

Transitions Optical

Varilux Lenses

A/R Council

The Optical Shoppe recommends polycarbonate lenses for all children and all sport goggles. If your occupational or recreational activities expose you to risk of flying objects or physical impact, your eye safety may require special safety spectacles with safety lenses, side shields, goggles, and/or a full face shield.

This Lens Page is excerpted from the “Lens Menu”, a publication of the Optical Laboratories Association. For a full copy of the “Lens Menu”, please come into our office. We will be glad to give you one.

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