Benefits of Polycarbonate Lenses

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If you are an eyeglass wearer there’s a good chance that you have heard of polycarbonate lenses before. Polycarbonate lenses are popular today due to polycarbonate offering a thinner and lighter lens with superior impact resistance over standard plastic or glass.

Benefits of Polycarbonate Lenses

Polycarbonate is not only used by the optical industry however, but the material is also widely used in motorcycle windshields, bulletproof glass, police riot shields and much more. As a matter of fact, the technology of polycarbonate lenses has the movie and music industry to thank for the polycarbonate we have today. It was the need for polycarbonate on CDs that the technology for the polycarbonate resin was perfected.

History of Polycarbonate

Before polycarbonate was ever used as lenses for eyeglasses, polycarbonate was used in the windows of NASA’s space shuttles as well as the face shields for the astronaut suits. 

When polycarbonate was first used in eyeglasses, it was mainly used for safety glasses. In the early days’ labs that wanted to cut polycarbonate lenses ran into problems due to polycarbonate’s unique softness. Which required special equipment to process and not many labs were able to process it in the beginning.

Polycarbonate later became popular due to how thin and light the lenses are but are very impact resistant. Even to this day polycarbonate lense are a very popular choice.

Who Should Wear Polycarbonate Lenses

Today polycarbonate is widely available at every optical retailer in the United States. You can even find over the counter reading and sunglasses that come with polycarbonate lenses. Who should wear polycarbonate lenses? Although there are some exceptions to this, I believe everyone should be wearing polycarbonate lenses.

There are some people that polycarbonate lenses are highly recommended for, these people include but isn’t limited to:

  • Children up to 18 – At my optical office I work at, it is a requirement for us to put children under 18 into polycarbonate. For good reason though, children are more active and having lenses that are impact resistant is safer for them. WIth standard CR-39 plastic lens and glass, there is a chance that the lens could break or shatter if they were to fall or if anything hits their glasses.
  • Someone With Little or No Vision in One Eye – Polycarbonate is highly recommended for anyone that has little or no vision in one eye. The reason being is that if you only have one good eye, you’re going to want to have the lenses that you are wearing to protect that eye if something were to fly towards it not shatter.
  • Anyone WIth An Active Lifestyle or Plays Sports– It is recommended that anyone that has an active lifestyle have polycarbonate lenses. The extra impact resistance of polycarbonate lens offers extra protection for those with active lifestyles. The idea is to maximize the protection of the person while they are participating in these activities.
  • Hazardous Work – Anyone that is in an employment field where there could be work hazards should definitely wear polycarbonate lens, their jobs include but isn’t limited to construction workers, police officers, firefighters, warehouse workers, and much more. 
  • Everyone Else – Everyone else should be wearing polycarbonate as well, the benefits over standard plastic and glass are just too good to pass up. There are rare cases where someone can’t wear polycarbonate lens and it causes a weird distortion for the person wearing it but this isn’t very common. Our eyes are an important asset, we should be doing anything and everything we can to protect them so I believe everyone should have polycarbonate lenses.

4 Benefits of Polycarbonate Lenses.

When polycarbonate lenses were first introduced into the optical field the demand for a thinner and lighter weight lens was in demand, but polycarbonate’s unique softness caused many problems for labs.

Today polycarbonate can be found at pretty much every retailer and is often the material recommended by many opticians as a superior option to standard plastic or glass. Let’s take a look at some of the many benefits of polycarbonate lenses:

  • Highly Impact-resistance – While polycarbonate isn’t the only impact resistant lens option when you get your glasses, being impact resistant is what sets it apart from standard plastic and glass lenses. The reason why polycarbonate lenses are impact resistant is due to it being uniquely soft and absorbing the impact instead of shattering like standard plastic or glass.
  • Thinner & Lightweight – Whenever something gets thinner you imagine it getting lighter in weight as well. Polycarbonate lens is about 20% thinner than standard plastic lenses, which makes them lighter than plastic as well.
  • Built-in UV Protection – Unlike standard plastic or glass lenses where you have to add the UV protection coating, polycarbonate has UV protection built-in blocking 100% without the need for any extra added coatings.
  • Scratch Resistant Coating – There is nothing that is “scratch-proof” even glass the most scratch resistant material still scratches. Polycarbonate has a unique softness to it, therefore, it must have the scratch resistant coating applied to it. When the coating is applied polycarbonate lens is nearly as hard as glass.


Bottom Line

The price difference between standard plastic lenses isn’t that much, and you should always try to get polycarbonate lenses whenever you are buying eyeglasses. Whether you are just buying some sunglasses without a prescription or you are purchasing eyeglasses with a prescription you should always try to get polycarbonate.

The added protection that it gives due to it being impact resistant is more than worth the extra money to upgrade from standard plastic.

One last note before I leave you here if you are ordering polycarbonate lenses and it is intended to be used for sports or safety, it is not recommended to order the super thin polycarbonate and conventional thickness polycarbonate lenses should be used. Even though the super thin lenses still passes the FDA Drop Ball tests for impact resistance you should still stick with the thicker polycarbonate lenses for safety concerns.

Do you have polycarbonate lenses? How do you like them? Let me know below! If you have any further questions feel free to leave a comment below and I will try to get back to you as soon as I can.





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7 thoughts on “Benefits of Polycarbonate Lenses”

  1. I love hearing about technology and it’s advances, especially with things that really increase the safety for our kids. My children wear glasses, so this is great information, and I’m going to look into polycarbonate lenses for them! Thanks so much! I look forward to more information on your website!

    1. Huy ABOC, NCLEC

      Yes kids being in polycarbonate lenses is a must. Kids are just too active to be in standard plastic lenses. I am not 100% if there is a law that children have to be in polycarbonate but I believe most places do automatically put kids into polycarbonate lenses.

  2. Thank you to share this. I have bought glasses with these lenses last year and i was very happy. now that i ve read this i even more satisfied of my purchase!

    1. Huy ABOC, NCLEC

      Hi Andrea! That’s great! Polycarbonate lenses are definitely great to have due to their lightweight and durability.

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