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Spectacles Parts & Glasses Glossary Part #3

LENS COATINGS in Glasses, Reading Glasses, Spectacles

When you buy your spectacles/glasses (or even sunglasses) there’s a wide choice of coatings which can be added to the lens.  They are simply “coatings” usually added by dipping the lens before it’s put into the frame – and they can be simple, complex and combined!  These are the most common.

Anti-Reflection Coating For Spectacles

an image showing the difference between ordinary and Anti-reflective coating or Teflon® coated lenses lenses

Glasses Direct's Example Of Anti-Reflective

Spectacle lenses most commonly have anti-reflection (AR) coating (or coatings) which which aim at eliminating reflections off the lens which confuses or distracts – principally for the wearer but also for the person talking to them! Reducing this reflection is highly important for those using computer or driving at night.   In sunglasses the AR coat is properly only on the near side to benefit the wearer:  The darker UV lens doesn’t need an AR coating and in fact can be visible and “oily”.

The coating is a metal oxide and this usually has a little colour in it – though this doesn’t effect the vision efficiencies) and you may want to check if it’s more blue-y or green depending on the supplier.

Anti-reflection coatings improve the look of your glasses and make lenses look less thick.  It obviously allows people to see our eyes better.

Scratch-Resistant / Hard Coating For Spectacles

No lens is completey scrath proof though glass is better in this respect. Plastic lenses are lighter than traditional glass lenses but they can scratch more, though some of the newer materials (see the first part of Spectacles Parts & Glasses Glossary) like CR-39 can have built in protection.  However you still have to look after your glasses – they are still subject to damage even if protected somewhat!

Scratch-resistant/hard coatings protect against damage (especially necessary for kids) on the front & bck of the lens and prolong the life of the lens and the spectacles.  The coating is clear.

The lens can be given multiple coatings to maximise the benefit.

UV Coating For Spectacles

Lenses coated with UV protection is like sunscreen for your eyes – it stops the harmful rays which can damage the eye and affect your vision in the future. Lens mad of polycarbonate have this built in.

Mirror Coating For Spectacles

Purely Cosmetic – for the look and can be in a range of metallic colours including metals (as such) and regular colours (pink, blue etc).

Multi-coated Lenses For Spectacles

Multi-coated lenses use a combination of the above coatings.

Lastly there are some proprietory brand coatings which can keep the lenses cleaner and ones that are water repellant!.  Don’t ask me how they work but they say they do!

 Thanks to www.college-optometrists.org among others for info on this.       


  1. […] With thanks to The College of Optometrists for the bulk of the source of the below. Single-vision lenses The most simple spectacle lens made to a “single prescription” to correct a particular

  2. […] on the lenses. Pt 1 (spectacles lenses overview); Pt2 (spectacles lenses types/vision); Pt3 (spectacles lens coatings).

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