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Lens Overview

With today’s fashionable choices and new materials, wearing glasses is cool again! Sure, you put a lot of thought into picking out your frames, but what do you really know about the most important part of your glasses—the lenses?

In the past, most eyeglass lenses were made of glass. Today’s lenses are generally made of high-tech plastic, and are thinner, lighter, and more durable than yesterday’s lenses. Let’s take a look at some of the types of lenses that are available:


This coating can reduce eyestrain caused from glare, reflections, and the "halos" you see around lights at night. It helps protect your lenses from scratches and smudges, and can repel dust and water. This coating makes your vision sharper and your eyes appear clearer behind your lenses. Some anti-reflective coatings reduce the amount of reflected UV from the back of your lenses, providing the best overall UV protection possible.



Conventional lenses have a front surface that is spherical, meaning it has the same curve across its entire surface. Aspheric lenses have a more complex front surface that gradually changes in curvature from the center of the lens out to the edge. Aspheric lenses provide correction for small distortions in vision. As a side benefit, they are also typically thinner and lighter than some other lenses.


Bifocal lenses combine vision correction for near-sightedness and far-sightedness. The top of the lens is for distance viewing and the bottom half is for close-up. These are often prescribed for people whose near-vision has declined due to age.


This hi-tech plastic lens is designed for people with stronger prescriptions. Vision can be corrected with less material, making the lens much thinner, eliminating that old "Coke bottle" look. They are also lighter and more comfortable.


These lenses automatically darken when exposed to sunlight, eliminating the need for separate sunglasses in many cases.


These lenses reduce glare reflected off surfaces, making images appear sharper and clearer. They are available for prescription and non-prescription sunglasses, and can be worn indoors by light-sensitive people, including post-cataract surgery patients and those continually exposed to bright sunlight through windows. Most provide UV protection, which is important to maintaining healthy eye sight.


These resilient lenses are impact-resistant and a favorite among active individuals and children who may not take good care of their glasses. Plus, polycarbonate lenses have built-in ultraviolet light protection.


These lenses have a smooth progression of power, enabling the wearer to see at intermediate distances as well as near and far. Unlike typical bifocals and trifocals, progressive lenses don’t have lines separating the lens sections—a big win for the style-conscious!


Nothing will make your lenses scratch-proof, but a scratch-resistant coating can help prevent scratches from damaging your lenses (and interfering with your vision).

Single vision

This common lens choice has one viewing area throughout the lens and addresses singular vision correction needs, like near-sightedness or far-sightedness.


Trifocals take the bifocal one step further by adding a section for people who need help seeing objects that are within a couple of feet or so, such as a computer monitor.

UV Protection

Overexposing your eyes to ultraviolet rays can cause serious eye conditions. The combination of UV protection that's built into lenses and applied as a coating can block 98-100% of transmitted and reflected UVA and UVB rays.


*Varies by plan and purchase selection; savings determined after benefits are applied. Available only through VSP network doctors to VSP members with applicable plan benefits.