Glare Reducing Glasses
Glare reducing glasses (not to be confused with polarized glasses and lenses) are designed to reduce eye strain to the wearer in environments where there is high glare such as from computer monitors and driving at night time. This type of glare is known as back glare.
Anyone who wears optical prescription glasses and who spends a significant period of time in front of computers will have experienced tired eyes and eye strain from the glare created by the monitor and manifested as reflections in the lenses of their glasses. In a bad case of back glare, the wearer of the glasses is actually able to see a reflection of their own eyes in the lenses of their glasses. The reduction in eye strain when anti-glare glasses are used is often most noticeable at the end of the working day.
Typically the optical qualities of glare reducing glasses are achieved through the application of an anti-reflective (also known as anti-glare or AR ) coating to the lenses in effect seriously reducing the amount of light hitting the lens then being reflected into the eyes of the wearer.
One of the other benefits of glare reducing glasses is their appearance. Often glasses not treated with an anti-glare substance regularly display reflections from light sources and people (other than the wearer) don’t see through them and see the eyes of the wearer clearly. Glare reducing glasses tend to appear much clearer to others with less reflections in the lenses making them look much better and providing less of a barrier to eye contact.
Another of the many benefits are that fact that the anti-glare coating also has a tendency to repel dirt, dust and oil making the glasses much easier to keep clean and maintain.
It is highly recommended that when you purchase any pair of prescription glasses you request an anti-reflective coating; however this is particularly true if your glasses use high index or polycarbonate lenses as both of these tend to reflect much more light than the equivalent plastic or glass lenses if there is no anti-glare coating applied. As an example around 8% of light hitting regular plastic lenses is reflected therefore the amount of light reaching the eye for vision is roughly 92%. In the case of high index plastic lenses however the situation is much worse and can significantly reduce vision in low light situations such as night driving. These lenses (high index plastic) can in fact reflect up to 50% more light than a standard plastic lens.
If you already own glasses with no AR coating, a quick trip to your local optician will put this to rights and leave your eyes feeling much more rested after exposure to high glare environments such as night driving, reading and computer monitors.
Also, if your glasses employ aspheric lenses (Aspheric lenses typically feature much flatter curves than regular lenses) reflections are often much more noticeable thus an anti-reflective coating is highly desirable in order to create maximum wearer comfort.
Where to Buy
When you order prescription glasses, most opticians have the ability to add a coating to the lenses at the time of manufacture when the lenses are cut. Initially the coating was only able to be applied to glass lenses, however this is no longer the case and it can be applied to polycarbonate lenses also. The cost is significant; however the benefits of glare reducing glasses are huge when it comes to increasing user comfort.
Glare Reducing Glasses Vs Polarizing Glasses
These two types of glasses are distinctly different and serve completely different purposes. Polarizing sunglasses initially found their popularity over the years with those keen on outdoor pursuits around water such as fishermen and boaters. The benefit of these sunglasses is that they significantly reduce the glare and reflection off the surrounding water. In the case of fishermen, this means they are able to actually see through the top of the water to what’s below, rather than squinting at the bright silver glare and reflections. The use of polarized sunglasses has now been taken up by many others enjoying the outdoors such as skiers, joggers and more. Read here for more information on polarized lenses and sunglasses. Unlike glare reducing glasses, polarized glasses are typically not prescription lenses.