Lens Index & Material Guide

Lens Index, Material Guide

When describing eyeglass lenses, the term "lens index" alludes to the material's refractive index, also known as its index of refraction. The relative measurement value reveals how well the material bends light. The amount of light that is refracted depends on how quickly it enters the lens.

In other words, the speed of light in a material is multiplied by the speed of light in a vacuum to determine the refractive index. More light rays are bent and move more slowly through the lens material when the index is higher.

As a result, some glass lenses need less lens material than glass lenses with lower indices. Higher lens index prescription glasses will have thinner lenses. Contrarily, prescription lenses with a lower lens index will be thicker in eyewear

. The refractive index range for prescription lenses is 1.5 standard index to 1.74 high indexes. High-index materials create incredibly thin, lighter lenses than standard ones, which result in larger lenses.

Refractive Mistakes

An optometrist may recommend eyeglass lenses for people with refractive issues, including farsightedness (hyperopia) or nearsightedness (myopia). When you utilize the prescribed lens power for your eyeglasses, your visual acuity increases (the degree of light-bending ability).

You often have a choice between lens materials and indices when purchasing eyeglasses. Although there are more options, lens materials with the following three common varieties, each with a different lens index between 1.50 and 1.60, are generally offered by eyewear manufacturers:

1. High-Index Lens

2. Polycarbonate Lens

3. CR39 Standard Practice

Among these, the high-index lens caters to strong prescriptions.

High-Index Lens

High-index lenses for eyeglasses are designed to be lighter and thinner than conventional lenses. If a person has very significant refractive errors, it is usually advised that they use their clear prescriptions for nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. For normal lenses with strong optical prescriptions, a larger, heavier lens is typically required to bend light more effectively and correct the high refractive error.

Benefits of High-Index Lenses

High-index lenses have a wide range of benefits:

Work with Virtually All Frame Kinds

While thick lenses can only be worn with particular types of frames, high-index lenses can be worn with various frames, including rimless and semi-rimless ones. However, the prescription varies with each frame.

Pleasant to Wear Due to being Lighter

Since high-index lenses are cut far thinner than standard thick-cut lenses, they weigh significantly less. The wearer's nose and ears benefit from this even after wearing it for a while.

Increased Variety of Lens

High-index lenses can be utilized with both strong and weak vision correction prescriptions. They are available in numerous formulations.

More Lens Options Available

High-index lenses can be utilized with both strong and weak vision correction prescriptions. They are available in numerous formulations.

Great in Appearance

The days of having to wear thick, bug-eyed-looking lenses are long gone. Since high-index lenses are thinly cut and aesthetically pleasing, you can match them with frames that truly complement the form of your face. High-index lenses are more expensive than regular plastic lenses because more materials are required.

Every lens should have a respectable lens index, not simply prescribed! When purchasing non-prescription eyewear, many eyewear businesses still offer a variety of lens materials with different indices.

High-Index Lenses for Eyewear

Types The index of refraction of an eyeglass lens determines how well it bends light. This property is influenced by how quickly light can flow through the substance. How quickly light passes through a material depends on the degree of light refraction. The degree to which a lens bends light directly correlates with an increase in the index of refraction.

A lens is referred to as high-index if it has a higher refractive index than glass or plastic. There are various refractive indices available for high-index lenses. It usually ranges from 1.53 to 1.74. The lens is typically at least 50% thinner than a standard plastic lens if the refractive index is 1.70 or higher.

How to Pick the Best Lens?

Making sure your medication is current is the first step. Schedule a visit with your eye doctor to ensure the lenses you'll receive are accurate. The refractive index should effectively bend light, improving the sharpness and clarity of your vision. The lens's Abbe value should then be taken into account. This clearly shows the possibility of distinct light wavelengths scattering as they move through the lens. High dispersion caused by low Abbe values might result in chromatic aberration. You notice colored halo rings encircling lights and other objects due to this distortion.

Look at the shape of the aspheric lens. This demonstrates how a lens's curvature changes from the center to the edge. The flatter curvature of glasses reduces the eye's capacity to magnify. For clearer peripheral vision, aspheric lenses can occasionally be used.

Definition of Reflective Index

How efficiently a lens material bends, light is determined by its refractive index, which is affected by how quickly light passes through it. Typical plastic lenses have a refractive index of 1.5. Larger refractive defects are harder for this index to correct than mild to moderate refractive issues. A high-index lens may be advised if your optical prescription exceeds 2.00 diopters.

The refractive index of polycarbonate lenses is 1.59. Since polycarbonate lenses don't offer the same level of optical clarity as other plastic lenses but are more impact-resistant and durable than other plastic lenses, they are normally only advised for children's glasses, sports eyewear, and safety goggles.

High-Index Lenses Versus Regular Lenses

High-index lenses use less material because they reflect light differently than regular lenses. The lens power required to rectify refractive faults is determined using dials. The lenses are often thicker in the center and thinner on the edge if you have farsightedness. When measuring, the word "plus" units are used.

Your prescription might be +2.00 D, for instance. If you are nearsighted, your lenses will often have wider edges and narrower centers. There are "minuses" used to quantify. Your prescription might be -2.00 D.

A high-index lens may effectively bend light to correct your eyesight, even if it is smaller. Although farsightedness benefits most from its lighter weight, a high-index lens is the best option for all refractive issues. This is because prescriptions for severe farsightedness can become very weighty.

Since the lenses are thick, people with severe farsighted prescriptions may look like they have bug eyes. This issue is not present with high-index lenses due to their aspheric design. Farsighted people with aspheric lenses have a flatter curvature because the aspheric property keeps the lens's center narrower.

Why Do People Use High-Index Lenses?

More frequently than traditional CR-39 polycarbonate lenses, high-index lenses are chosen because they look better and are more comfortable to use. CR-39 lenses are also known as common, standard, and plastic.

They have better optical quality and cost less money. Higher prescriptions may result in "bug-eyes" since the lenses are frequently thick. As a result, folks who need stronger prescriptions may choose to consider high-index lenses.


Choose the lens that is ideal for you based on your prescription, the design of your frames, and your way of living. People with higher prescriptions frequently choose high-index lenses due to their reduced size; however, active people may need impact-resistant options. You can understand it more quickly if you follow the instructions.