Lenses for eyeglasses are made out of a variety of different materials, all of which offer a number of different benefits for different prices. When looking to purchase new glasses, knowing the differences in the types of lenses available can aid you in choosing the lens type that best suits your needs.


Though not as common anymore, glass lenses used to be the only type of lenses available. They are fairly heavy, and are prone to scratching, shattering, and breaking. This can be a serious safety hazard, as shards of glass can damage your eyes and face. Glass lenses are rarely used any more, as they cost more than plastic lenses and offer few benefits.


By far the most common and the cheapest type of lens available, plastic lenses are extremely lightweight and allow glasses to sit comfortably on people's faces. Because of their widespread use and cheap manufacturing cost, plastic lenses will be able to fit into any type of frame, giving you the widest range of styles to choose from.


Polycarbonate lenses are still made out of plastic but are much more damage resistant and will not scratch or shatter as easily, providing a longer lifespan to your glasses. These tend to be about the same weight as traditional plastic lenses, though they are slightly more expensive. Additionally, polycarbonate lenses provide greater UV blockage than regular plastic, which helps protect your eyes from damage.

High-Index Plastic

High-index lenses are similar to regular lenses, but offer a thinner lens that weighs much less than regular plastic lenses. They also offer the benefits of complete UV blockage, like polycarbonate lenses, offering your eyes greater protection. However, high-index plastic is still fairly new, and as such is significantly more expensive than either plastic or polycarbonate lenses, which means that it is not ideal for those operating under a budget.


Trivex lenses are similar to polycarbonate lenses because they are also made out of plastic while being more impact resistant than regular plastic lenses. Additionally, Trivex lenses are lighter than polycarbonate lenses, though they are thicker. However, Trivex lenses are designed to produce sharper images than polycarbonate lenses. The actual results of Trivex lenses compared to polycarbonate lenses will depend on a number of factors, including your prescription and the environment that they are compared in. However, because of this, Trivex lenses tend to cost more than polycarbonate lenses.

Talk with an optometrist, like Beyond Vision, for more help deciding what lens type is best for you.