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


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 UV 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. All sports goggles use this type of lens, since they are shatter-proof. Polycarbonate lenses are also generally the lightest weight lenses available. Because of there unique strength, polycarbonate lenses can be made ultra thin. They absorb all harmful UV rays.

Transition Lenses

Transition lenses can change tint when going from darker areas to brighter areas.  They are available in most lens styles, have a scratch–coating on them and block all harmful UV rays.  When Transition lenses are exposed to UV light, a reaction in the molecules of the lens causes it to darken.  Not only does the lens block out UV rays, it also protects you from some of the harmful blue light as well.  Transition lenses are available in several colors, like Gray, Brown, Amethyst and Sapphire.

Lens Designs

Single-Vision Lenses

Single-vision lenses function as an all-purpose glasses for some people. People 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 best option for first time bifocal wearers, Progressive Addition Lenses (PAL) offer 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

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 distance 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, but are a lot less than PALs.

Flat Top Bifocals

At one time, 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.

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.

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.

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, only fishermen and hunters used them exclusively. But now they are available in all lens styles and is quickly becoming the premium sunglasses of choice.

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.

Anti-Reflective Coatings

This special coating, similar to the coating used in camera lenses, and is a great 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.

Some information on this page is excerpted from the “Lens Menu”, a publication of the Optical Laboratories Association.

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